Saturday, July 27, 2013

On the road again ...

Today Tom and I head down to Chicago (Evergreen Park, actually) for a party to honor Peter and his wife,  Jennifer. We will be there overnight and return tomorrow,  perhaps by way of Old World Wisconsin. Monday we drive over to Iowa to have lunch with our friend Rick, who will be at his parents' house for a few days helping out.

Weather-wise, here on the last weekend of July, it is now (6:30ish am) 50 degrees (10 C) in the Dells with a forecast high of 61 (16 C). It will be in the upper 60s (20 C)  in Evergreen Park, so I am packing a long sleeved shirt: the party is outside.

As for Old World Wisconsin:
Old World Wisconsin is an open-air museum located near Eagle, Wisconsin. Opened in 1976, the museum is owned and operated by the Wisconsin Historical Society. It portrays housing and the daily life of immigrants in 19th century Wisconsin. The largest outdoor museum of rural life in the United States, it encompasses nearly 600 acres (2.4 km²) of rolling wooded hills and contains over 60 historic structures. These range from ethnic farmsteads with furnished houses and rural outbuildings to a crossroads village. A restaurant and conference space are located in the octagonal Clausing Barn, along with a gift shop. Trams run between the Scandinavian and German, African American, and Crossroads villages.
Farmsteads and settlements that represent various ethnic groups include:
  • African American: Pleasant Ridge Cemetery Chapel, Shepard Family Cemetery, United Brethren Church, Pleasant Ridge Cemetery
  • Danish: Pedersen Farm
  • Finnish: Rankinen Farm, Ketola Farm
  • German: Koepsell Farm, Schottler Farm, Schulz Farm
  • Norwegian: Fossebrekke Farm, Kvaale Farm, Raspberry School
  • Polish: Kruza House
  • Yankee: Harmony Town Hall, Four Mile Inn, Sisel Shoe Shop, Benson House, Grotelueschen Blacksmith Shop, Peterson Wagon Shop, Thomas General Store, Mary Hafford House, St. Peter's Church.
"Yankee Village" also contains the non-Yankee buildings showing the integration of other European settlers to Wisconsin in the 19th century:
  • Sisel shoe shop (Czech)
  • Grotelueschen Blacksmith Shop (German)
  • Peterson Wagon Shop (Scandinavian)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Cat Sees Owner After 6 Month Leave

Click on the arrow in the center of the picture to see this moving episode.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Congratulations and good health!

To the Duchess, the Prince/Duke and their new princeling: May all manner of thing be well for you and your people on this happy day!

And the things that happened, I never expected ...

Ian Tucker “Almost everything that I've ever worried about has never happened ..”

Ian Tucker


Thursday, July 18, 2013

England and Wales

Pin of the flags of England and Wales

The Dodd family originated in Wales and wandered into England and then to Ireland and then from each of those places to America.

Medical news

Yesterday Tom and I spent most of the day sitting around at clinics and such in Madison. He just sat and read, but I had scans and consultations. It seems I have hyperparathyroidism. Here is an excerpt from the Wiki article:
Hyperparathyroidism is overactivity of the parathyroid glands resulting in excess production of parathyroid hormone (PTH). The parathyroid hormone regulates calcium and phosphate levels and helps to maintain these levels. Excessive PTH secretion may be due to problems in the glands themselves, in which case it is referred to as primary hyperparathyroidism and which leads to hypercalcaemia (raised calcium levels). It may also occur in response to low calcium levels, as encountered in various situations such as vitamin D deficiency or chronic kidney disease; this is referred to as secondary hyperparathyroidism. In all cases, the raised PTH levels are harmful to bone, and treatment is often needed.[1]

 Please note: This is NOT about the thyroid as such, but about four small (grain-of-rice-size) glands located near/on the thyroid.

I, being me, naturally have primary hyperparathyroidism. I will have surgery (hugely safe and successful) August 22 to remove whichever of the little devils is creating the problem. 

This whole thing began April 1 (April Fools!) when my annual physical indicated a high level of calcium in my blood. Further tests and a bone density scan revealed osteoporosis and a high indication of hyperparathyroidism as the culprit. Yesterday's tests included having a scan that involved lying still for three ten-minute scans and then one eighteen-minute scan. Got to practice meditating, anyway. Then a rush to make a doctor's appointment across town to discuss the results and set the date for the surgery. Before the surgery I will have to have an ultrasound of the throat and another physical with my primary care physician.

Nothing like summer, is there? After the surgery I will be unable to talk for a bit (the good news for Tom), but I will also not be able to do anything strenuous, which I never do anyway. I will miss a week or so of library work.

I am grateful that I have health insurance, even though it eats up absolutely all of my income. I cannot imagine what this would cost if I had to pay for it all myself. I suppose that I would just elect not to do it, although that would leave me at high risk for broken bones and so on.

Monday, July 15, 2013

It's all about security ...

~ Pablo Picasso

Sunday, July 14, 2013


When I was in Texas last week, I got to see a couple of my cousins. Growing up, my brother and I had two dozen cousins, two of whom were double cousins. Most of them lived in the area around Tyler, and we saw them a lot. There were usually family gatherings at the homes of both sets of grandparents at Christmas as well as other times. My father's mother celebrated her birthday on July 4, and the Dodd clan all gathered at the lake on their farm for a big party and to get the first bad sunburn of the year lying on air mattresses out on the water. Ted and I often spent another week or two visiting my mother's side of the family during the summer, and cousins came to visit with us for a week or so with some regularity.

My father's brother Weldon (whom everyone called Buddy), his wife and their two children -- Phyllis and Rex -- lived about a mile from us in Huntsville, though, and they were the cousins we saw all the time. Yesterday Phyllis and her husband, Daryl, stopped in Wisconsin Dells on their way to Door County, and I gave them a tour of the place and they treated me to a very nice dinner. We all agreed that we look like our parents. Phyllis looks very much like her mother. Daryl is clearly the son of his father, who taught me drivers ed and civics in high school.

Since they, like almost all of the family but yours truly, live in Texas, I seldom see them. It was good to catch up. They were impressed with the natural beauty of the Dells, not so impressed by the water-park-junky-tourist-trappy stuff. I think they will come back though so that we can go out on the river and see the Dells that gave the place its name.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Do you have a thinking problem?

(Questionnaire based on AA literature, "drinking" replaced by "thinking." Excerpted from Shaving the Inside of Your Skull by Mel Ash, Zen teacher)
 To answer this question, ask yourself the following questions and answer them as honestly as possible, checking off each that you answer "Yes."

  • Have you ever tried to quit thinking?
  • Do you think first thing in the morning?
  • Is thinking making your home life unhappy?
  • Is thinking affecting your reputation?
  • Do you think because you're shy with other people?
  • Have you ever felt remorse after thinking?
  • Have you gotten into financial difficulties as a result of thinking?
  • Do you turn to lower companions and an inferior environment when thinking?
  • Do you lose time from work due to thinking?
  • Does your thinking make you careless of your family's welfare?
  • Has your ambition decreased since thinking?
  • Are you thinking right now?
  • Do you think at a definite time daily?
  • Does your thinking cause you difficulty in sleeping?
  • Has your efficiency decreased since thinking?
  • Is thinking jeopardizing your job or business?
  • Do you think to escape from worries or troubles?
  • Do you think alone?
  • Have you ever had a complete memory loss as a result of thinking?
  • Do you resent the advice of others who try to get you to stop thinking?
  • Do you think to build up your self-confidence?
  • Have you ever been to a hospital or institution on account of your thinking?
• If you answered yes to any one of the questions, there is a definite warning that you may be a problem thinker.
• If you answered yes to any two, the chances are that you are a problem thinker.
• If you answered yes to three or more, you are definitely a problem thinker and need to seek professional help.

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

There and back

I got back from Texas yesterday. I enjoyed my visit with my mother, and I got to see some other family members. This time I was not able to see any of my brother's family. Too much going on for them right now! I got to visit with a cousin who is also a writer, a couple of aunts and an uncle and another cousin who teaches in Whitehouse and who is very good to my mother. I also went by the Senior Center to visit with some folks I know there.

Here are some photos from the visit. Sunny told me to take lots of pictures, but I don't have her eye or skills to do much. But here are some.

First of all, the lady herself: Roxie Dodd. Lovely, isn't she?

Her house. (This is not the house I grew up in. My parents moved here in 2000.)

My aunt Bobbie, my mother and my cousin Teresa. Bobbie is my mother's younger sister. Teresa is the daughter of one of their brothers.

The back yard. That is mostly light in the picture, although there are some bare dirt patches.Texas has suffered from a lot of drought in the past few years,  and that combined with lots of shade has made for some suffering lawns. Those are cannas in the middle.

Spider lilies around one of the trees in the front yard.

This morning Tom and I worked a bit on the basement, getting a temporary work space set up for me so I can get back to a project I am doing for the Carmelites. We haven't seen or heard from the contractor for about six weeks, so it looks like finishing up will be our problem. Mostly Tom's problem, of course. I can sweep and mop and hold things up or down as instructed. But that's about the sum total of my building skills. We did get my section cleaned up, though, and a couple of tables set up. That's all I need. Except the motivation to get back to work! And looking at my checkbook may suffice for that.

Friday, July 5, 2013

True dat!