Wednesday, March 28, 2012


Born again, from flames

Last evening
at the Congo
- First Congregational Church, UCC -
I marked a feat
believed to be impossible
by some;

I served as maitre 'D
of the annual historic
pancake supper which involved
standing on my feet
for 4 hours straight
a great feet feat

said to be undo-able
for a man with just 1/3 of a heart
but I did it
with a heart now said to have
restrengthened to 
one half (1/2)

over a period of
seven years since 
I had my chest sawed open
and parts repaired
by great doctors.

The pancake powers 
that are
offered me a sit-down job
like maybe taking tickets
but I said, phoenix-like,


Going to Phoenix 1972


A good turn-out.
There's Wis Guthrie to the right of the coffee cannister
and son Jim facing him (back to camera)\and Ralph E.B. Schultz
at Wis's left;
and in the front table Darrell and Judy Marshall
our old neighbors on Colton Street
(in the original raccoon district)
and Tom Jacobson, and, and........

I saw them all.


A Middleton WI phoenix woman
flew in Sunday to pick up a reborn Maytag electric washing machine.
She had answered a Craigslist ad we put in
looking for a good home
where the machine would actually be used,
and Ingrid filled the bill.

The 1958 Maytag has a history here.  See:
But this Ingrid lady has plans for the old but true washer
and she loved it at first sight.

What better outcome than to see the dust-gathering
but still kicking labor-saver getting  rebirth
with Ingrid, who put it to immediate use dying old flannel
sheets to be remade into craft items!
An enterprising formerly old-world woman
bringing a cosmic continuance to a dormant
but waiting, still willing servant vessel 
made in Newton, Iowa.

.....and there it goes, left, right, left, right.....
"Igg-ig-oo-ee, igg-ig-oo-ee"


(Thanks to Mel Stark and son David Jr. for getting the machine back into good working order!)


Correspondence from Ingrid to the raccoon news, 3/28/12:

I retired a year ago (at age 59) and spend most of my time knitting, crocheting and sewing. I have an antique sock knitting machine and can crank out a pair of socks in about an hour. I’m building an inventory of socks and crocheted hats for fall craft fairs. Two friends and I have formed our own craft “company” of sorts called 3 Phat Chix (fat chicks) and we make phunky stuph – hattitudes (hats with attitude) and sockitudes (socks with attitude). It’s lots of phun playing with words for this little venture…

The washing machine will come into use when I do felting of sweaters found at second time around shops so they can be repurposed into slippers, bags, or what have you. I also knit things (mostly slippers and bags) that I felt in the machine so Millie will be assisting with lots of those kinds of projects. (My front loader has a filter that gets too easily clogged with lint and good ol’ Millie just chugs away without caring about that kind of stuff!)

Now that nice weather is bearing down on us, I’ll be bringing home “the Divamobile”, my 29’ motor home, and getting the fishing gear ready for fishing. I tried ice fishing this past winter for the first time – rather strange for a North Dakota farm girl, huh –

Millie will be a constant nostalgic reminder of the humble but hardworking farm life I had while growing up in rural, desolate, northern North Dakota. My mother never knew the ease of using modern washers and dryers – it was the old Maytag and hanging clothes on the line to dry – outside in the warmer months, and in the basement during the winter. Jeans and towels were stiff as a board but that’s just how it was and we didn’t complain because we didn’t know any different.

Thankfully, for my sake, I raised 3 kids with the modern washer and dryer. And a lot of other creature comforts that I never knew as a child. But I have fond remembrances of life on the farm, the sense of community as a family, and the basic values and morals that were instilled in me for life. You worked hard, played hard, and then worked hard some more! Life wasn’t easy but it was just that – life! And that’s the way it was and we didn’t complain because we didn’t know any different. Nor would I have wanted to…

Now that I’m almost an old lady, and a grandmother, I would love to go back to the simple way of life in the country on a farm. Get away from the hustle and bustle of the city, the noise, the constant onslaught of sensory overload – simplicity and serenity with reverence for all of God’s handiwork and the multitude of blessings He has bestowed upon us. Like modern washing machines and dryers, but with an appreciation and respect for those people and things that came before us and that gave us the modern conveniences of today.

Hope this helps you glean something worth writing about…. I look forward to your published blog comments!



Places I Have Heard the Ocean

In a cat's throat, in a shell I hold
to my ear — though I'm told
this is the sound of my own
blood. I have heard the ocean
in the city: cars against
the beach of our street. Or in
the subway, waiting for a train
that carries me like a current.
In my bed: place of high and low
tide or in my daughter's skates,
rolling over the sidewalk.
Ocean in the trees when they
fill their heads with wind.
Ocean in the rise and fall:
lungs of everyone I love.

"Places I Have Heard the Ocean" by Faith Shearin, from Moving the Piano. © Stephen F. Austin University Press, 2011

Saturday, March 24, 2012

She's still the one; Turning leaves, Headrests; Lenten ode

In the beginning
Dee wore mismatched shoes
and never cared

Later, spoke with her hands
at Friedens UCC
13th & Juneau, Milwaukee
where we met

ponderer of great questions

worker for good, and.....


We've been together since way back when

Sometimes I never want to see you again

But I want you to know, after all these years

You're still the one I want whisperin' in my ear

You're still the one -- I want to talk to in bed
Still the one -- that turns my head
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

I looked at your face every day
But I never saw it 'til I went away
When winter came, I just wanted to go (wanted to go)
Deep in the desert, I longed for the snow

You're still the one -- that makes me laugh
Still the one -- that's my better half
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You're still the one -- that makes me strong
Still the one -- I want to take along
We're still having fun, and you're still the one (yes you are)

Changing, our love is going gold
Even though we grow old, it grows new

You're still the one -- that I love to touch
Still the one -- and I can't get enough
We're still having fun, and you're still the one

You're still the one -- who can scratch my itch
Still the one -- and I wouldn't switch
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You are still the one -- that makes me shout
Still the one -- that I dream about
We're still having fun, and you're still the one
You're still the one, yeah still the one
We're still having fun, and you're still the one 



As the leaves (and blossoms) turn.......

some clockwise
and some counter-clockwise

Heltions - you hellions,
Saturday, and I face a puzzlement:
Whether to use the velvet ruglet the inner city neighbor of Ellwanger's gave me, right-side-up as a chair headrest; OR to use it reverse-side out for diminished yet perhaps better feng shui effect?
I am thinking of putting the question to the SRN readers.
See examples attached.  With it partially turned-up could be a third possibiity.  The full garish 'upside' is not pictured for obvious to me reasons.   This rug - like others seen by you I'm sure with the Pope or JFK likenesses - was something that struck me as in such bad taste that it was good, and the dear well-meaning donor-lady who also gave me the indelible term 'Michael-Wave', is probably long gone by now.  So cannot and would not ask her.  But I will never part with this gift.
In such ways I fritter away what's left of my life, as though I have all the time in the world.  This seems like a big deal to me, nevertheless, and therefore, it is.
Happy Saturday
and even better Sabbath!

and the answer this morn from John was:

'Full frontal, of course!'


Another minister checks in
with a Lenten poem:

Day 28.   Sanford and Gun  (March 24)

Once upon a crime,
just up the happy trail from Frontierland
in the state of sunshine, foreclosures and seniors,
teenage Trayvon Martin in a hoodie
left his father’s gated haven to get a snack at a 7-Eleven
down the street in a town without pity
whose city manager is (believe it or not) N. Bonaparte Junior
(Sanford, have mercy).
On his way home, Trayvon, armed with a cell phone, drew it
to tell his girl that a man was following him; run, she said, and he did.
Zimmerman, ‘hood watchman, out to catch a suspect,    
said he suspected the boy because he was “walking and looking about”
(and walking while black), then went after Trayvon and gunned him down
on the strong arm of a “stand your ground” law,
recasting it as “your hunting ground”
and the blast of a bullet.
Will it
end with Trayvon going into the ground? or, at last,
be the gun to restart the human race and get us the grace to know now   
this land is not your land, this land is not my land;
this is our land and the street where we meet, understand and show how
we are one, under the sun, under the skin, under hoods, understood, a rainbow
beyond the guns, the rain and the fear of the dark or the light, bound for tomorrow?

Rev. Dr. Tom Bentz had a fall
but did not break

Friday, March 23, 2012

Tunnel vision; downtown panoply

It's a kind of tunnel vision for us here at the Odd Fellows.
When we look outside, our windows face only the northwest.
So we take our readings on what's happening outside 
through these three big but one directional windows.
Very high, somewhat narrow.

But what we get to see is noteworthy.
Today Dee called my attention to how the buds in the trees
across the street are beginning to show.
Green appears on the formerly dormant branches
in front of the vacant restaurant at the Clarke.

While most SRN readers are immersed in 360 degree
beauty at this time of year as they walk about their
multi-directional houses,
we peer from these old, limestone-framed,
one-way Odd fellows windows.

We think our vision is in a way unlimited
in this fine focus, 
and we do traverse outside and
catch the almost overwhelming panoplies
as partaken of yesterday morning.




and a time-accelerated video
received this morning via Email
from our son in his standard Friday Email sharings.



Gnats have been feasted-upon by the many spiders
who work their downtown stands ahead of the farmers
along the Fox River.

The Odd Fellows Hall, where we live.
Note the ancient O.F. emblem on the upper left roof-line.

A marker at the Riverside entrance to the Waukesha Civic Theatre,
formerly known as the Pix movie house.

Often when we pass this restored site on our morning walks
we remember the late Dr. Bob Monk with whom we appeared in
Saroyan's The Time of Your Life
and in A Thurber Carnival
 many years ago.

Lovely jonquils decorate the outside river
facade of the Pix.

We note natural forces are causing heaving of neatly-laid cobblestone bricks
at the downtown Five Points.  It's hard to keep a good and well-watered tree

We saw a man standing next to the cafe cigarette butt receptacle
 who, like many regulars at the common-man Cuppajoe
joint, apparently disdains the right-next-door siting of the Waukesha Recall 
Walker headquarters.  This IS Waukesha.

Instead of finishing his outdoor weed and dutifully depositing it in the tidy 
butt stand - most of Dave's habituated smokers regularly do that  -
this guy sent his butt vehemently spinning at the Recall office doorway.

Common men who eat at Dave's are ill-advised to register
their pro-Walker sentiment in this lowly way, or in any way;  our humble opinion.

Ironically, the office space for the recall office is rented by Berg Management, the owners of which although not generally known as Democrats will take seemingly good tenants wherever
they find them.  Other examples of that are known.


Thursday, March 22, 2012

and at the same time in history

British film and TV director Sir Ridley Scott launched a global contest for aspiring filmmakers:
the films could be no longer than three minutes,
with no more than six lines of narrative.

There were 600 entries;
here is the winning "Porcelain Unicorn" of Kegan Wicox: , mc

And stateside
a boy flies a kite
with hopeful friends
while fathers
prepare for a war
to rid the Nazi 

Monday, March 19, 2012

Mother-daughter- (great) grandmother; Dogs with real boots; Dr. Gregory's history; Misc. poetry

Laurie Dix Kari
Director of Family Promise
homeless shelter
in Wasilla, Alaska
serves coffee at 7:25

Ruth Kari
Mud wrestler
Colony High School Soph.
Wasilla, Alaska
Very good girl; cleans up nicely;
(Laurie and Phil's daughter)

Ruth Elies (Dix, etc.)
1931 Sun Prairie WI High School Sr.
Organized a dance band at age 13,  & many etcs.
(Mud wrestler's great-grandmother and namesake;
Laurie's grandmother)

Another photo of a dog team in the Iditarod long-distance mushing race of 2012.
Note: these dogs are wearing black boots.  We did not photo-shop the previous St. Patrick's Day dogs' feet in green.  Those were the color of the canine racing boots.  We presume the boots are to protect the faithful dogs' pads over the long and punishing course.......


A real find made by Dee when cleaning out her Sunday School office at the 1st Congregational UCC here in Waukesha.

A gathering of church history booklets collected by former SS head, Ina Guthrie, was discovered during an office cleaning..  Among these mimeo printings was a 54 page resume of Alfred E. Gregory DD's 25 years of ministry at the 'Congo', written by the good doctor himself.

Here is just the first page:

Confirmed by this gentle and erudite Englishman at the Congregational Church
in Waukesha, I nevertheless went on to lead a picaresque life with few of his strictures and  dictates followed.

It is never too late, until it is.......




A bear under the snow
Turns over to yawn.
It's been a long, hard rest.

Once, as she lay asleep, her cubs fell
Out of her hair,
And she did not know them.

It's hard to breathe
In a tight grave:

So she roars,
And the roof breaks.
Dark rivers and leaves
Pour down.

When the wind opens its doors
In its own good time,
The cubs follow that relaxed and beautiful woman
Outside to the unfamiliar cities
Of moss.
"March" by James Wright, from Above the River: The Collected Poems. © Wesleyan University Press, 1992.


That’s a Moray  (March 18)

Some days I may hook a lyric like the moon on a string;
Most days I must look for it to hit me like mud in the eye:
I dip inside and find the well dry,
Slip outside and find the moon winking.

The moray for today
May say that thoughts stray,
Words are out to play:  
We cannot capture what we feel;
Rapture is as slippery as an eel.  

Rev. Tom Bentz vows to write a poem a day for Lent, and so far he is making it.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

St. Patrick's; Dogs, pulling not skating; Man operates raccoon finger puppet; Celtic Thunder


The recently completed Alaskan Iditarod dog sled race
again brought out fierce competitors:
man, woman and dog.

This dog team wore green foot pads.

An Iditarod woman and her dog
communicate. The blended effort
of the willing animal servants and their masters 
through miles of grueling wilderness, is a loving and
 - to a lower 48er - 
a mystical phenomena.

A racer of Viking stock?
All very beautiful to me.


Today we decorated our raccoon finger puppet
with a green ribbon around his neck

and took him down to meet Mark Doremus
at Dave's Cafe across the street.
Mark animated the puppet with his finger.
A neighboring child was amused.


From Oregon friend, Kate O'Neil,
a St. Patrick's Day gift,
these video clips of 

Friday, March 16, 2012

Great interims; Tom mixed metaphors

Look, we CAN all skate together

At the Congo church
our legs were sometimes uncoordinated
sometimes we were machines
to the music going on 
under the great overhead light

but a woman came to 
show the the way

a committee of townsfolk
went out to get us
some protection

and like the Lone Ranger
she rode in; 

she did the job well
and rode out of town
leaving some to scratch
their heads,
"Who WAS that masked woman?"

A tentative answer: 

"We don't know
but she left this
silver (disco ball) bullet......"
there were falls
being human
but she always
got back up......

and now....
A new teacher
with equal promise
gets her skates on
 at the Congo rink.



Thursday, March 15, 2012

Guthrie at the Congo 3-13-12

Willis Guthrie addresses First Congregational UCC 
Plymouth Circle, Waukesha, WI

A Quaker himself, his parents were both Quaker ministers in Iowa.  There were nine children.
"There's NINE of us!"

First, he partakes of breakfast delicacies with the ladies,

then commences his lecture on some of his artwork.  A former chair of the art department at Carroll College (now University), the act of lecturing is just falling off a log-time for Wis.

Friend Libby Sellars listens intently, smilingly. Soft-spoken Wis at 94 has not lost any of his wry humor. 

Known widely for his assemby of found objects into art pieces, Wis, in his retirement at the Avalon, without studio or basement workshop, enjoys cutting magazines in his apartment and reassembling pictorial representations in amusing and sometimes justifying ways, to him  - and others in the world, for Wis is widely appreciated and celebrated.

He looks for balance in his art, always his underlying theme.  Above, a calm buffalo stands in the way of a roaring steam engine.  A toilet with its handle resembling to Wis an eye, gets another eye on the right side of the tank. (Enlarge these pictures for better seeing.)

Here, a cat-house is dragged through heavy traffic, kitten in mouth.  Policeman holds up traffic to let cat and entourage safely pass.

Guthrie adds an out-sized and nicely-wrinkled eye to elephant.  Places keeper/tamer within trunk crook.  All work he does with sharp scissors and careful fitting.  But not too much planning, for Wis operates foremost on spontaneous impulses.

A raccoon, added to a magazine representation of a shoreline florid 'fish' seems to suggest he's bashful being seen in the washing of his big meal.

Wis, whose wife Ina passed recently, now holds forth in an apartment at the Avalon Square. A picture on his front door is also a pictorial assembly he did.  In it, Wis and Ina stand on the porch of their long-ago residence at 'Maniac Manor', a former asylum and then convent at Hartwell and College Avenues, Waukesha.