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Friday, December 14, 2018

Josie - a true friend

What makes a good friend? I’ve been thinking about that since I lost my pal Josie Bochek.

We buried her on December 1. In the days since then, I’ve come up with this true-friend list, all based on Josie:

Thursday, September 20, 2018

Why go to your 50th high school class reunion?

There's an old joke that goes something like this: You go to your 10th high school class reunion to see who's looking good, to your 30th to see who's doing well, and to your 50th to see who's still alive.

Tuesday, August 21, 2018

The Ted, Audrey and George Grenier Challenge

It’s been forty years since my eighteen-year-old brother David had the awful duty of informing me that our parents and brother had been killed in a car accident.

Monday, August 20, 2018

Shoreland Plantings: Part of Healthy Lakes Best Practices

Have you ever loved a lake? I've never met a lake I didn't love. My husband and I are lucky enough to own a trailer on Little Green Lake in Markesan, Wisconsin. It's our happy place.

I recently wrote the following piece for our Little Green Lake newsletter. While the specifics are for our lake, county, and state, the general idea of working for lake health could translate to any place on earth. 

If you love a lake, here's information about best practices for healthy lakes . . . . 

Friday, August 17, 2018

Exploring life's greatest mystery through real love stories: Katie Kolberg Memmel's new book

Ever wonder what makes a marriage work? Mike and I just celebrated our 46th wedding anniversary, and I still wonder. People often act as if they understand it all, but I think love is the greatest mystery of life.

Katie Kolberg Memmel, a former writing student of mine, recently published a book called From This Day Forward. I had particular interest in her book because it was comprised of stories gleaned from interviews, like my own recent book, Young Voices from Wild Milwaukee. I know how hard it is to go from interview to book form.

I was curious, so I asked her about the book:

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Eleanor Roosevelt's letter to my mother

I was going through family documents recently and came upon something that I forgot was there: a letter from Eleanor Roosevelt to my mother, dated February 18, 1961. It looks the way documents used to look when we all used manual typewriters - the individual letters of the alphabet display varying degrees of thickness. The note is signed in Mrs. Roosevelt's rather elegant hand with real ink (using a fountain pen, for sure). I'm touched by the humility in her wording "with renewed regrets and the hope that you will understand my position" regarding the fact that the former First Lady was not going to send a gift for my mother's church festival.

Wednesday, July 11, 2018

Alchemy: Chrissie Hynde helped us time travel

Mike and I rarely go to concerts, but we scored tickets to see The Pretenders last night. Anticipating the event, I was one excited lady. I loved their hits from 1979 - 1994 including "Brass in Pocket," "I'll Stand by You," "Chain Gang," and "Don't Get Me Wrong" - all ballads, basically. [Hint: this is foreshadowing. "Jaws" music plays.]

Monday, June 25, 2018

Kindness of Strangers

Yesterday I invited my friend Mary to brunch. It turned out to be brunch and crunch when a Milwaukee county bus clipped her car.

Wednesday, April 18, 2018

Holy Hill Honeymoon

I just looked up my name on Google and found this old blog post I put up on another site in 2005 I think it was. The story still makes me laugh. I used it as the start to my novel Don't Worry Baby. Here's the old blog post . . . . 

Tuesday, April 10, 2018

The UEC’s young people made me write a book! . . . And move back to Milwaukee!

 1958, City of Milwaukee, corner of Beckett and Glendale Avenues,
beside my house - I'm on the right.

My brother and my neighbor and I are sitting on a sewer cover, making mud pies.

Glendale Avenue is behind us, before the concrete went in.

How a book gets a start 

I’m a writer and a nature nut. In 2013, with five books published, I realized that none of them were the book I really wanted to write. 

I felt inspired to write a book about young people and nature. But where to start? . . .  Fiction? . . . Nonfiction? . . . A combination of the two? I shared my conundrum with a nature-loving friend, Mike Larson, visitor services manager at the Urban Ecology Center (UEC).

He suggested, “Why don’t you come to Riverside? We’ll walk around and talk about your ideas.”