Archive for September, 2009

Reasons for Moving

Here we are with our daughter Debbie (holding babies) and her grandchildren–seven of our eleven great-grandchildren.  All of the above folks live close by our new home in Nashotah.  They, plus the many other family members who are not pictured in this photo, are great reasons to be here!

Debbie’s MAGNICIFICENT SEVEN are from left to right as you view the screen:  James, Lyla, Olivia, Cole, Lucas, Brynn, and Ethan.  Grandma and Grandpa Yoo-Hoo (as we are called because we yell “Yoo-Hoo” to locate each other when wandering around places like Walmart and Home Depot) flank each side of the young celebrants present at James’s third birthday party Monday, at Debbie’s home.

We enjoy being in these group pictures.  As Joe says, “We started it all!”

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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Big Falls in September--2

I have a habit of saying to people, “I’ll see you next week (or whenever), God willing and the creeks don’t rise.  They may be rising at this very moment, as we are having rain, rain, rain.  Hard, driving rain.  How I love it!

I thought I’d miss the sound of rain pounding on our metal roof up north.  But sitting at my studio next to our bedroom window, I’m experiencing the same wonderful euphoria as the rain pounds insistently on the siding of our condo. 

How lovely after 3 hot, dry weeks, to be inundated with rain!  I think the trees and grass and little gardens in our neighborhood are saying, “Thank you!”  I know I’m saying “Thank you, Lord, for the rain!”

We see entertaining sights every day around here.  A flock (gaggle, herd, litter?) of wild turkeys bopped across the road in front of our van yesterday.  The funny wild turkeys are determined and stolid in their appearance and gait.  They remind me of quintessential tourist ladies–grasping their shopping bags and bopping in look-alike groups around the boutiques at Wisconsin places like Minocqua and Lake Geneva.

Today our son Eric showed me how to access any old tune and musical artist on You-Tube.  Eric said, “What do you want to hear?” and I answered, “Ghost Riders in the Sky” a la Frankie Laine.  (Always the western nut!)

What a nostalgia trip!  Although pop music is not my favorite genre, I used to enjoy it years ago when lyrics and melodies were discernible–when you could walk away from your radio humming a tune!

I loved the romantic songs of the 40s and 50s, and the ballads of the 60s and 70s.  After the years of Frankie Laine, Frank Sinatra, Nat King Cole, and Perry Como, I feasted my ears on Peter Noone (of the original Herman’s Hermits), Glen Campbell, Harry Belafonte, and (YES!) even Johnny Cash.  Daytime radio was fun in those days, and a great adjunct to scrubbing floors and folding laundry.

Now I turn on the radio, and get mostly noise.  My great love is classical music, and some of that is available on WPR (Wisconsin Public Radio) but the beautiful moments are interspersed with talk shows that make me want to throw up.  So instead of throwing up, I play my IPOD which is loaded with Bach, Beethoven, Chopin, artists like Luciano Pavarotti, and others of their ilk.

However, one lately discovered older pop singer, Gordon Lightfoot, sits by my computer and when I’m in the mood–for instance, right now–I play him.  I bought Lightfoot’s CD titled “Summertime Dream” for The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald–one of my pet research subjects.  But all of the ballads on this CD are worth listening to.  The ballad singers knew how to say something of substance in many of their tunes.

Now Gordon has sung through his selections, and the sky is clearing.  I’m going out in search of a rainbow, and maybe some more wild turkeys!  Life is good!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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Beautiful Harvest--3

When one has just moved, little things mean a lot!  People are welcoming, and words can’t describe the fun of being back home with family members and friends after a delightful 8 year hiatus.

But my surroundings are important to me, as well.  Having been suddenly yanked from the woods, water, and sky that I dearly love, I’ve wondered if I’d be able to live creatively in Southern Wisconsin again–even though most of my life has been spent in this area.

In recent days, I’ve had an eclectic welcoming committee of “little things” that said, “This is right for you!  This is where you belong now.”  Here are some of those little things. 

Every where we go, in any direction, we pass farmers’ produce stands.  What is more welcoming than bounty from the fields–apples, squash, gourds, tomatoes, and musk melons that smell like a musk melon should?  Wonderful melons grow around our county–comparable, I think to the Rocky Ford, Colorado melons we enjoyed years ago when we lived in the west.

Yesterday a friend and I relaxed in our living room which looks out upon the expansive park.  Overhead soared a humungous bird, larger than a hawk.  Obviously we are too far south to see an eagle, so it had to be one of the many turkey vultures that breed a few miles south of us near our former home in the Southern Kettle Moraine Forest.

Today Joe and I saw a cluster of turkey vultures, circling and soaring high in the sky, looking for carrion:  nature’s undertakers, keeping the environment fresh and clean. 

Memories stirred and welcomed me home.  To once again see the turkey vultures brought back those decades when we lived here before, years when the sight of these impressive birds was a frequent  treat.

A few days ago, we rediscovered the local Ben Franklin store.  This may be the largest, most well-equipped store for crafters around.  I was thrilled to browse through the treasures and realize that only 7 minutes from my door I can shop for not only items for crafting, but art supplies as well.  I found some Yupo paper–a shiny “paper” made of plastic–which accepts watercolor paint without buckling, and affords amazing textural effects. 

A new-to-me painting ground plus today’s antique store find of the perfect desk (with shelves, a work area, and drawers) was all I needed to get back to normal living and resume painting.  I’ve spent the afternoon sloshing watercolors on Yupo paper. 

My cup is running over.  We are truly home.  The little things are helping us replant our roots!

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved

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We are here:  moved, settled (even most of the pictures have been hung), and thoroughly at home in the quiet village of Nashotah, Wisconsin. 

I purposely never took snapshots of the towers of boxes in our rooms in northern Wisconsin as we were packing.  And I purposely never photographed the same cardboard skyscrapers which were safely and efficiently transported 290 miles south to our new home.  We’re thankful for that!  I don’t want to ever see another cardboard box in my life, except when UPS delivers some neat thing that I’ve ordered online.

We’ve had many surprises since moving into our new home 15 days ago.  Most of them have been wonderful.  We were surprised to see how perfectly everything fits in.  We were delighted to see how charming a condo can be, as soon as one puts a lifetime of collections, books, and family photos into it.

We are continually amazed at Dylan’s good behavior.  (For those new to this page, Dylan is a Pembroke Welsh corgi.)  He doesn’t bark anymore than any of the other dogs around here.  He’s getting accustomed to people walking through the park, but still gets a bit ferocious when he spots another dog; that’s a corgi thing. 

Dylan loves our walks, and enjoys exploring his new territory of 4 rooms, 2 bathrooms, and several closets.  He’s already hidden his food everywhere.  That’s a sign that he’s feeling at home.

The not-so-good surprise was Joe’s emergency trip at 3:00 a. m. on the Sunday of Labor Day weekend.  But God’s grace prevailed.  A fantastic surgeon was on call, and Joe received 6 stents–2 each in 3 clogged arteries.  Now Joe is feeling fine, and we are wasting no time in creating new memories with family members and long-standing friends in the area.  Life is good!

Although we haven’t seen any wolves, bears, or eagles down here, we constantly see plenty of nature.  Chickory abounds at the roadsides, a poignantly blue and beautiful wildflower that I missed up north.  The first of the southbound Canadas are beginning to fly overhead. 

We have bird feeders galore around this condo community, and have stocked our feeder with sunflower seeds.  Eventually the cardinals will find it.  Two chipmunks skitter and scatter across our patio, encouraged no doubt by bits of chopped up apple and dry bread which I “plant” in the little garden spot.

On the far side of the pleasant park which forms our front yard, is a nature preserve with woods and a prairie.  A path in the nature area leads to the quiet end of Lake Nagawicka, where one can fish or sketch.

There are deer, foxes, and coyotes in the neighborhood.  I’ve seen circling hawks–not so common in the north as they are down here–and sandhill cranes.

Our little village is separated from other pleasant towns by cornfields and some horse farms.  I’m reminded of Psalm 16:6.  My lines have fallen in pleasant places.

Margaret L. Been–All Rights Reserved


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