Sunday, February 28, 2010

Happy birthday

The joke all over moose-hunting Alaska will be, if not already, that we mistook the birthday gift daughter Laurie sent down to the lower 48 to be moose antlers.

"No," she informed, suppressing hysteria, we speculate.

"Those are the shoulder blades from the bull moose Phil recently (dispatched)."

We thought there was something amiss with the configuration, so we wondered via Email how young that moose was? The answer then came back. 'Shoulder blades!' Who knew?

Oh, the laugh we will be around every moose hunter's garage butcher/chop-shop! Those folks from where it is said you can see Russia from the back steps, and we who in our unlettered carcass ID-ing are not only from the lower 48, we might as well be situated in the southern hemisphere.

These bones have been beautifully cleaned and bleached before shipping off to us. Much appreciated, we think we will use them as shoulder augmentations. One cannot have broad enough features today. But Laurie suggests an art project.

Trekking to Madison yesterday, we had lunch with our son and daughter, then took Lee to his favorite grocery store, Trader Joe's.
Erin presented a carefully chosen birthday card for one at our stage of life, we thought. Fraught with various meanings we read, it, too, is much appreciated. See it above. Click on all images to enlarge.

Trader Joe's was new to us. A hot spot in Madison, the store with an intricate space-saving parking ramp specializes in organics and not usually found foods, plus picturesque and ideal produce. Lee carefully chose some healthy items, per his custom.

We got a tin of Altoid chewing gum. Very hot. Very curious. Haven't seen that around here.

Friday, February 26, 2010



Monday, February 22, 2010

Mayhap a bookmark for you?

In the attic

Mice have held sway;
as we sort out old papers
we find some things
that over the many years
have been chewed upon
for mousys' bedouin lairs.

Even a paper, notes
of our mother's about
British successions -
high school, Sun Prairie WI,
circa 1929 -

or a daffodil cut out with scissors,
once vividly colored, we wager
-1920? -
are things we do not throw away

Some of her construction paper
are given away to friends
who might value them as

Thus, the clean-out goes slowly.
And.................................. thoughtfully.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Again and again, etc.

Again, Jack Gabryziak saved our automotive bacon: (father of Dawn Olhoff; father-in-law of Randy.)

Last evening, after a full day of driving including a client out to Brookfield & back, Dee was stopping to get us a bag of popcorn from the root beer stand on Arcadian, a few blocks from our house, before returning home.

Oh-oh! A breaking & clunking sound as she pulled into the lot at the stand. A rod was hanging down under the car in front, she said. She walked home from there with her load, including the popcorn, dejected.

After discussing the problem, we immediately called good old Jack, who has been keeping cars running for us for 30 years, at least. How we met him is a good story.....

Jack said he'd be over first thing in the morning to take a look. "Sounds like a tie rod."

Dee had a deposit to make at the bank and we took Lee's car to do that and then went to the root beer stand to see the rod hanging down. That was it, it appeared. Fortunately she was able to come to a stop at the front of their lot, out of the way of customers to be left until help arrived.

The stand operator who knows us said no problem. Leave it there. We've bought a lot of popcorn, hot dogs and root beer since they opened in 1937.

So this AM Jack went out and had it fixed in an hour. He replaced the tie rod, a part he got at a supply shop, and the car is running fine once more. He also tightened up some other stuff under there, he said. It was snowing. Impervious, he lay in it.

Will not say how little he charged us except that we could not agree to that pittance. His fixing the car right there in an hour, saving us a towing fee and probably a rental car until the repair was done? No way would his quoted sum do.

Jack has chased into Milwaukee's inner-city when we konked out there where we worked years ago. In those days he drove an old VW bus, a moving repair shop.

Bottom line, Jack has fixed cars for our son, various friends and our brother who drove his 'borderline condition' mail-delivering used Jeep for his rural mail route some years back. Jack specializes in duct tape and wire when appropriate.

So now we await him to return to drill a new hole in he bumper and with a toggle bolt refasten the bracket on the front license plate. We can't be driving around with a crooked Yibawe plate.
That name must remain straight. (Jack did return. See picture above.)

When he was again thanked profusely, he merely said, "HEY! What are friends for?" A 30 year friend and a good one. No molds of Jack anywhere.

Friday, February 19, 2010


woman is 92
dancing with her great-grandson, 29


Lenten reflection

welded cross and photo
by SRN.

Money cannot buy

Raccoon editor
gets cross when anyone makes fun of his painted T shirts.
Liking to wear neck-ties to church, still now, even in the age of anything goes, yet disdaining the choking shirt collars
around his throat....
he buys a few Hanes large t's for $4.95 ea and then paints from his pallete of acrylic colours
any combinations and designs he may wish. Sometimes he may simply paint over a tie, either four-in-hand or bow, and have a new tie overnight.
Many people have tried to purchase these painted shirts. They haven't been for sale.
The creator may give these shirts freely, but
money cannot buy.

Missing molds, this terrestrial plain


Iowa farmer and photographer
George Helt
He knew light

Wednesday, February 17, 2010


Looking carefully
you will note
this stamp is canceled


The late Jack Hale was our stepbrother. Finally done in by a nephritis curse he bore for too many years, Jack, Jackaroo, Rhubarb, or Rhu as we ended up calling him, was a character.

He ran a steo 8 track installation company here in the raccoon district next the RR tracks where the LaCasa weatherization branch is now located.

If we had a nickel for every hole in car door interiors he drilled for the new speakers of music avantegarde motorists, we would have enough money to buy his grave a huge floral arrangement. We should do that anyway.

Jackaroo got his nickname from Mo Tio, master resilient floor installer for whom he earlier worked, breathing - as the SRN editor did too - a lot of the asbestos dust from the vinyl-asbestos tile cutter machine. No visible affects from that here yet.

We shortened the Jackaroo to just plain Rhu, and he remained Rhu with us till he died. After he went legally blind, Jack got his degree from Carroll College. He lived with his wife one block east of the union.

Once, Jack had a moped that he really shouldn't have been operating. we bought it from him in one of his sager moments. Then, he took to walking about with his red and white blind man's cane. He was crossing the street at East Avenue and Broadway by the Congregational Church when a driver got too close to him in the crosswalk.

Jack had to step back although he was properly tapping his right-of-way. He raised his cane and brought it down mightily on the hood of that car, while reading the driver off. "YOU @#$%*!!"

It left a big dent, he told us in satisfaction. The offender decided to just kept on driving.......

As we enter Lent, we think of Rhubarb, while the church now procures its palm branches to wave. He was a bit of a magician and a palmist in his own right. And a pirate.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

The pipes, the pipes are calling..........

We made some mac and cheese (Kraft Dinner) for lunch today, in memory of a departed lad who thrived on the dish. That made us realize as we looked at the noodles on the plate that they resembled pipes.

The pipes, the pipes are calling....

We made the peppered dish with blackened weiners, as often is our custom.

The pipes, the pipes are calling....

And that led our mind to a song about pipes. Eva Cassidy, much heralded in the raccoon news, made a fine recording of Danny Boy. Eva was a woman who died much much too young.

The food, the song in your name, man!

The daring young squirrel / flying trapeze

Once I was happy, but now I'm forlorn

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Winke, Jeff, writer of Haibun

Two examples
pages 90 and 91
Winke's I'll Tell You So
purchasable from Cross + Roads Press
Ellison Bay WI


Our linoleum woodcut emblem

Once upon a time,
we published a little magazine, Vulcan Weathervanes,
dedicated to our newfound interest in simple living,
and it was in concert with our weathervane-making shop
in the garage behind the yardlight sign above.
The production of the magazine was done on a manual typewriter
and run off on a mimeo machine. Very limited
and exclusive circulation, i.e., it went to anyone would take
a copy. Died a natural death within a year
but we delivered the promised goods. (12 issues)
We had a Centerfold in the middle of the little magazine that featured
some simpler machine, such as push lawn movers, one speed bikes,
an old Maytag wringer washer,
a basement shower stall, and the one we enclose today
was writer Mary Hontros's tribute to her treadle sewing machine.
She wrote it as though the sewing machine was speaking.
We know something of that, machines speaking.
The Singer we use as our desk in the Raccoon News
is also a treasured treadle machine with a message,
cased in beautiful wood.
shoestring medium; no computers then

Orduration by moonlight

DD 1976

This issue, VW No. 7, has become something of a collectors item.

There is a man in this world
who is never turned down
wherever he chances to stray.
He gets the glad hand
in the populous town,
or out where the farmers make hay.
He is greeted with pleasure
on deserts of sand,
or deep in the aisles of the woods.
Wherever he goes there’s a welcoming hand –
he’s the man who delivers the goods!

The kindness of neighbors....

Birds flit in and out of yard outside back door
following an additional foot of snow here.

A junco and female cardinal happen to be feeding from the seed Dee scattered when we shot this picture through the back door glass. Two doors up, our raccoon district neighbor. Darrell, once again blew the snow from our corner sidewalk, including the driveway and approach, kind soul that he is.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

old credo; today's tangerine

Cut-crystal bowl (antique) holds floating candle

So nice it is to find a regular use for this crystal bowl
kept, not shunted off to other more desirous relatives
when a dead aunt stopped running her fingers over it;
gathering dust even in a glass-doored china cabinet
rarely used
too exotic for us
Now we float a candle in it
from the so-called church retreat
and it bends lovely sharp reflections
every which way.

Monday, February 8, 2010

Be so called

On the very day of another more salutary happening, the so-called Hla Aung Christmas cactus burst into bloom. Saturday, Feb. 6th. Light and brilliance circulated throughout the raccoon district, which includes within its boundaries the site of another stimulus, the Congregational Church, so-called, also known as the First Congregational United Church of Christ, Waukesha.
There, at a so-called retreat, the Rev. Deborah Howland, interim minister, unleashed a high voltage curriculum, designed to energize already partially charged batteries, a corp of 40 + attendees who were eager to learn and share ideas of growth, healing, and revitalization.
First Congo-ites, so-called, looking for more links in their circle, traditionally and renownedly had their arms over each other's shoulders, if only figuratively. That's a reason people like those several who joined as new members on Feb. 7th choose our church.
Anyone who entered the church basement, now the Heritage Room, so-called, may have been burning at a walk-on refrigerator light bulb wattage of 15 , but were rheostated up, and up, as the 3.5 hour meeting went along. When they left they were too bright to behold with the naked eye.
Following a delicous breakfast put on by the Church Life committee, the students and discussers of so-called 'What Do We Now?'ism sat brightly, not nightly, at individual round tables.
The Congregational Church is ascending.
It is ascending!
We here are not enfranchised as mere raccoon reporters to proselytize nor would we want to give anything away*.
Come to the next two so-called retreats
March 6th
April 24th
* OK, there were gift bags given away at the conclusion, sacks that included among other delightful things glow tubes that you bend and shake to activate, (get it?) and a mirror 'story', so-called, that has made its way into our wallet as a permanent reminder.

Be so called.

Click on images if you dare