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Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guy Wire Question

While my brother Gary walks several miles each morning, he ponders life’s ‘important’ issues. Frequently he calls to either inform me of his conclusions or to simply find an available ear.

Today’s important phone call came before I had my Diet Pepsi – need I say more?

Gary’s walk led his thoughts down the ‘balance’ path. He realized that calling and sharing with me during his walks helps keep him balanced.

Thinking about balance led him to ponder guy wires. (According to the dictionary, the definition of ‘guy wires’is to add stability, balance and support.)

Gary said he depends on the women in his life – his wife Fran, his daughter Sarah and me – to provide stability, balance and support. He concluded that probably most men depend on the women in their lives to do likewise.

Thus the question arises: why are guy wires called guy wires instead of gal wires?

If it’s the women who provide the same benefits, wouldn’t it be logical to name the product that provides balance and support after the people who provide balance and support?

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Ski Lifts, Vertigo and Me

In September we visited our niece Sarah and her family in Rochester, NY. While Sarah and her husband Tim planned activities they thought we’d enjoy, we attended a conference in Wisconsin. Somewhere on the trip from the Wisconsin to Rochester, I experienced a vertigo attack.

Tim, Daniel & Everett

When Sarah called and suggested a trip to the ski area on Bristol Mountain, it sounded great. She described beautiful fall colors and views from the ski lift and from the top. It’s a favorite fall adventure they plan every year.

Considering that just turning around or moving too quickly still made me dizzy, I should have known better. Located close to an hour out of Rochester, I spent the drive trying to convince myself that I could do this. Foolish thoughts!

Maggie & Hannah
picking flowers

Even when Tim bought our tickets, I could have said no. However, being a fair-weather person, I’d never been on a ski lift. I wanted the experience .

Sarah, 10-year-old Hannah, 5-year-old Maggie and I took the first car; Everett, Tim and 8-year-old Daniel the second. The sun was shining, the air crisp and fall colored the mountainside. Sounds like a great adventure, right?

Only one problem. The minute the gondola stopped and the swaying motion began; so did the dizziness. There I was: hanging on for dear life to stop the swaying, keeping my eyes focused straight ahead and praying I wouldn’t disgrace myself. I barely saw the scenic views.

A view from the top

Needless to say, the adventure-that-should-have-been turned into the adventure-to-keep-Aunt-Pat-from-getting-sick. The moral of this story: vertigo and ski lifts don’t mix!

Monday, October 25, 2010

Sandcastle Days on South Padre Island

It always makes me homesick for South Padre Island and the Gulf Coast when I check on fun happenings down south. Every fall, the Sandcastle Days produces some fantastic sand sculptures.

Take a break, check them out and pretend for a few minutes that you're on the beach! Enjoy the sun on your face and the sand at your feet and admire the artwork. It will make you "wanna be there!"


Sunday, October 10, 2010

Creative Energy

Clem Clement loves to create things. Since he retired from Silver Dollar City, he’s busy making baskets, dulcimers and woodworking. This weekend he displayed his products at the Arts & Craft Festival at Our Lady of the Lake Church in Branson.

I have to admit I'm one of his biggest fans. I love his attention to detail and his perfectionism. Needless to say, I left the festival with several of his creations: baskets and a beautiful cherry French rolling pin.
Several years ago I wrote an article about his first woodworking project – dulcimers. As he learned more about the musical properties of various woods, he experimented with style and design. Now he creates instruments that both look and sound beautiful.

Next he turned to basket weaving. With the same curiosity and passion that led to beautiful dulcimers, Clem experimented with many patterns and colors. Take a look at some of his work.

His wife Lou claims that their house is filled with too many fruits of his labor. So if any of you are looking for gift ideas, I’ll put you in touch with him.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Fond du Lac Wisconsin

From Colorado to Wisconsin to Michigan to New York to Pennsylvania - what an awesome month.

I attended the Great Lakes Outdoor Writers Conference in Ashland, WI, the middle of September and have stories and photos to share.

We started our Wisconsin adventure with a weekend in Fond du Lac which is located about an hour from either Madison or Milwaukee. Known for its outdoor recreation activities, Fond du Lac is on the southern shore of Lake Winnebago, the largest inland lake in Wisconsin.

Veiw from pontoon
We sampled the food, the outdoors and the hospitality of the city. We arrived at the Holiday Inn early Friday afternoon and headed out for a pontoon tour of the Horicon Marsh. Marc Zuelsdorf, owner of the Blue Heron Landing, shared his knowledge of the marsh and its inhabitants. It's truly a nature lover's paradise. Home to more than 290 species of birds, a couple hundred thousand ducks, and lots of fish, it offers something for everyone. It boasts the largest freshwater cattail marsh in the country. It is also home to thousands of lily pads. I would love to see them in bloom. We saw sandhill cranes and white pelicans in flight. Marc told us most of the loons had already migrated. We didn't see any.

Great Blue Heron, lily pads
& cattails
 Saturday morning we had planned a fishing trip but rain forced us to cancel it. I know that shows we're not true fishermen but I have to admit to a strong love of fair weather! Instead we explored the nearby Kettle Moraine State Forest. Formed from glaciers, it is so named because the glaciers carved out large "kettle-like" pieces of land. A hint of fall color touched the gorgeous trees that lined the roads. The rain prevented good photos but the drive was beautiful. The Ice Age Trail runs through the park. I did brave the rain for a short hike on this trail. Many hikers, bikers and campers didn't let the rain slow them down at all.

Fond du Lac Lighthouse
In the afternoon, Everett enjoyed some skeet shooting at a shooting range and I went to the annual Fond du Lac Fondue Fest. That evening we had fried perch - a local specialty - at Wendt's on the Lake. Sunday morning we had our second venture on the Horicon Marsh - a two-hour birding tour.

We left for Ashland with the beauty and hospitality of Fond du Lac in our minds.