Sunday, March 31, 2013

Friday, March 29, 2013

Spring? Wisconsin-style

What a difference ten-score miles makes!  
We spent last weekend at my parents' cottage in Wisconsin, where the snow (unlike at home, where it has all but disappeared) still covers most of the landscape and the lake has 15 or more inches of ice - enough for ice fishermen to spend the day with ATV or truck to haul a temporary shelter out to a fishing hole. 

See those tiny dots?  Ice fishermen.

Oscar is always ready for a walk, no matter the conditions.
We were lucky to have sun and bright blue skies on Friday - lovely for a walk in the snow.  

Oak leaves still cling to the trees, adding color to a gray landscape.

A robin sings amongst the bare branches.

The old boathouse, its green tile roof still snow-covered.

A more-than-half moon rising through the birch branches.

Love this detail on the boathouse.
Oscar and I ventured out again Saturday morning as the sun was coming up and saw five deer on the frozen lake in front of the old hotel down the shore.  Odd for me to see them in that spot, though they didn't seem to find it strange.
Saturday's dawn over the lake.

Golden-pink beams of sun on snow.

Deer traversing the frozen lake.

Clearing the clouds
Friday night dinner with my sister and her family for a birthday dinner for her youngest (who had just won Player of the Year for his high school basketball conference, as well as being only the third player in the school's history to score more than 1,000 points - talent he did not inherit from his Aunt Ginnie), another visit with my sister over lunch on Saturday, and the day ended with a cozy dinner at home with my parents in front of the fireplace.

Oscar, ever watchful
The cozy fire

My wonderful parents


Wednesday, March 20, 2013


 Happy Spring!

 When I spotted a flash of red high in a tree this morning,
I thought it might be robins.
But it was some of our overwintering cardinals.
Evidently, self-respecting robins are waiting for 
temperatures warmer than our overnight 14F.

Oscar likes the sun...

 ...and snow.  This is how it looked two weeks ago
at the height of our last snowstorm.


Thursday, March 14, 2013

A door opening

 Snowdrops appeared after our nine inches of snow began to melt last weekend.

In early January, I answered a notice in an e-newsletter from an Illinois non-profit  looking for a volunteer to come once a week to do "mindless office work."

The non-profit works with faith communities (of all flavors) 
to give them tools to be good stewards of the earth.

I had been wondering what direction to take next, after so many years of taking care of Gerrit.  I didn't want to go back into the food industry, where I had spent all of my career prior to Gerrit's getting sick.  And while I'm very interested in environmental issues, I have no credentials beyond an amateur's enthusiasm.

So I thought that this might be a good way for me to do something useful, maybe meet some people who could lead me to another stage, and if nothing else, give me a little structure in my week.

I started mid-January, taking the train into Chicago and walking through the Loop to the office.  Each week I worked on a database of grants and projects, updating information and creating reports, and doing whatever else the executive director wanted me to do.  

Four weeks later, the part time bookkeeper left for a full time job, and I was asked if I wanted to take on that responsibility one more day a week, for pay.  No matter that I have no bookkeeping experience; the ED had confidence in my abilities.

It didn't take me long to say yes.  One 5-hour stint with the departing bookkeeper (an excellent and patient teacher) on QuickBooks, and several follow-up training sessions with the accountant/consultant (also an excellent and patient teacher), and I'm feeling like I can be a useful addition to the small but mighty team.