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Thursday, March 20, 2014

Stop Diabetes Now! Test Yourself for Diabetes 2 or Pre-Diabetes

I am diabetic. So was my grandma. So are many of my cousins on her side. It's a family thang.

Diabetes can be a blessing because it can alert you to live right.

In honor of  Stop Diabetes Now Alert Day March 25, try this test to determine if you are at risk of Diabetes 2 or Pre-Diabetes:

Monday, March 17, 2014

Waking Up to My Irishness

[Originally published in 1993]

     Somehow it was hidden from me, my Irishness. It took me a long time to figure out why. I started putting the pieces together this summer, after a sixteen-year-old Irishman became part of my family.

Tony Memmel and the Symphony: Hearing His Music So Big...

Tony and his wife and band-mate, Lesleigh

I can only imagine how much fun it was Saturday night for Tony Memmel to hear his own rock music made BIG by the Sheboygan Symphony Orchestra (SSO) and Chorus.

Thursday, March 13, 2014

Book Launch Give-Away Contest!

My new book, Dessert First - Glimpses of Wisconsin Life, is out in paperback. To celebrate, I'm having a drawing for a free copy of the book. Anyone who puts a comment on this blog post is eligible. The deadline for comments is midnight March 31.
On April Fool's Day, I will write the names of commenters on slips of paper and put them into my husband's fuzzy ear-flap hat. He will reach in and draw the name of the winner.

I hope there is more than one name in the hat!

Thursday, March 6, 2014

Dessert First is published!

In these pages you’ll travel from city streets to haylofts. You’ll encounter mice wearing clothes, a bad guy stopped by a smile, a St. Francis in need of recapitation, and two old ladies whose racy conversation leads them to calamity. You’ll find leaves to kick, spring peepers, chickens, fruit flies, deer, drought, and frost. There are earthly delights like a blue Fiestaware dish – and bummers like walking to the gym shower wearing socks.

Inside you’ll find seventy-seven glimpses of Wisconsin life, to be read in any order. This book has your name on it if you like short true stories – if you laugh at everyday comedy – if you’ve lived through highs and lows – and if you believe good trumps evil.

Dessert First is Wisconsin life transcribed through my pen. I'd like to think that my eyes are open and that I see the world as many folks see it. I think you'll find that I describe that vision with clarity, compassion, and humor.

I grew up in Wisconsin, which means that through weather, through rearing, and through schooling, I grew up hardy – and that helped me when, at twenty-seven years old, I lost my parents and younger brother in a car accident. Those deaths taught me to live. From more than three decades of writing, a message comes through: Life is short and often hard – but it’s full of desserts. In this book, I share those desserts – tastier than Wisconsin frozen custard. 

The stories are true...some names have been changed.

You may order Dessert First from

Hope I can keep up with this 85-year-old

I had coffee yesterday with my friend Peggy Ludeman, who just turned 85. Peggy used to be a student in my writing class, and she's become a friend. I remember back a few years ago, when she came to class all excited because her first great-grandchild had been born. She mentioned that while that baby was being born, Peggy (the great-grandmother) had been playing tennis!

Another story she shared awhile ago: she could tell she was having a heart attack, so she quickly drove herself to the doctor. She said climbing the stairs was a bit difficult.

Yesterday she told me that she has stopped playing tennis because she wishes to stay home to care for her husband, who is battling an illness. With tennis no longer in her life, Peggy wants to ward off fat and heart attacks. So she installed a gym in her basement, with equipment she found at Goodwill.

I told her that Mike and I don't go snowshoeing on days when it's zero outside, but I too want to do something active. I added that I've good a good, weighted hula hoop but haven't gotten into the habit of using it.

She said, "I use a hula hoop!" She explained that she doesn't count her hula hoop use by the clock, but rather by revolutions. She aims for 100 revolutions. She said the secret is to keep a wide stance. "The other day I did 500...but not all at once," she told me.

Okay. I have my inspiration. On to the hula hoop. I love you, Peggy!