Saturday, November 29, 2014

Logical; Moment; Poems; How to earn a penny



Before the adults we call our children arrive with their children in tow
  for Thanksgiving,

we take our morning walk down the lane of oaks and hemlocks, mist
  a smell of rain by nightfall—underfoot,

the crunch of leathery leaves released by yesterday's big wind.

You're ahead of me, striding into the arch of oaks that opens onto the fields
  and stone walls of the road—

as a V of geese honk a path overhead, and you stop—

in an instant, without thought, raising your arms toward sky, your hands
  flapping from the wrists,

and I can read in the echo your body makes of these wild geese going
  where they must,

such joy, such wordless unity and delight, you are once again the child
  who knows by instinct, by birthright,

just to be is a blessing. In a fictional present, I write the moment down.
  You embodied it.

"Moment" by Margaret Gibson, from Broken Cup. © Louisiana State University Press, 2014


The Window

A storm blew in last night and knocked out
the electricity. When I looked
through the window, the trees were translucent.
Bent and covered with rime. A vast calm
lay over the countryside.
I knew better. But at that moment
I felt I'd never in my life made any
false promises, nor committed
so much as one indecent act. My thoughts
were virtuous. Later on that morning,
of course, electricity was restored.
The sun moved from behind the clouds,
melting the hoarfrost.
And things stood as they had before.

"The Window" by Raymond Carver from Ultramarine. © Vintage, 1986. 



by Ruth Elies (Dix; Hale)
Sun Prairie WI
circa 1919


Next week, feedback on Steve Dix's book about escape to Canada and the Yukon
during the Vietnam era


Saturday, November 22, 2014

Gingko revisited; Hooded monk; Beet juice; Climate change; Announcing

Re aforementioned Ginkgo trees on South St.:




On a recent early still-dark morning I arose
from bed with my hooded Lawrence
sweatshirt pulled over my head.

I saw in the gray mirror
in the chilly heat-down apartment
that at long-last I did resemble

the monk in the old framed NYT Book Review
section that has hung on the wall
in our presence for many long years.

I'd had the prescience
to know a good thing when I saw it
and took the news photo to be framed

not knowing
that someday I myself would look like that;
surely we grow into reality eventually
if lucky.


Beet it 

(from the Waukesha Freeman 11-19-14)

With bone-chilling temperatures hitting Waukesha so early this year, county roads will once again be soaked in a salt brine/beet juice solution to melt ice and keep drivers safe. 

The county began experimenting with an 85-10-5 percent mixture of salt brine, beet juice and calcium chloride, respectively, during the 2011-2012 winter, according to Chladil. 

“It helped the salt work better in those colder temperatures,” he said, referring to the extract from the root vegetable. “It is sticky, kind of like pouring a Coke on the sidewalk, so it helps hold the brine down to the pavement, giving us longer residual (effects).” 

This combination has been especially effective in temperatures under 15 degrees, working as well as straight calcium chloride, but at a reduced cost. 


Beets. huh?

Here at the raccoon headquarters
we drink bottled beet juice
from Switzerland
for our health

proving once again
the ubiquitous generosities
of nature around us.


Son David Jr. at the new solar panel collectors at St. Paul's UCC, Hubertus


"My name is Peter Bakken, and I’m here to speak on behalf of the Wisconsin Council of Churches, where I am Coordinator for Public Policy, and on behalf of Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light, for which I serve as Coordinator.  Both organizations share the conviction that confronting climate change and building a clean energy economy are urgent moral imperatives.

Curbing carbon pollution is a moral issue.  Climate change threatens the health of our families, communities, and the earth itself.  It is also an environmental justice issue, because it is our poorest and most vulnerable neighbors -- especially seniors, children, and the chronically ill -- who are most at risk.  They are also the ones who have the least ability to protect themselves from the harmful impacts of air pollution and climate change.

It is distressing to realize just how much worse global crises such as hunger, poverty, lack of potable water, armed conflict, and refugee resettlement will become as a result of climate change.  Many individuals and organizations in the faith community are committed to acting on climate change as an extension of the work they have already been doing for years.

But as people of faith, we see signs of hope in the fact that more and more individuals and communities of faith in Wisconsin are taking direct action against climate change.  Many congregations are generating their own clean, solar power and improving the energy efficiency of their buildings.

We know, however, that our individual and congregational efforts alone are not enough.  We need strong state and federal public policies to support those efforts and replicate them on a scale equal to the magnitude of the challenge. Wisconsin Interfaith Power and Light and Wisconsin Council of Churches therefore strongly support the EPA plan’s emphasis on promoting renewable energy and energy efficiency as alternatives to carbon pollution-producing energy sources.

It is fitting that we are raising these issues in the week before Thanksgiving, for our sense of responsibility is rooted in an equally deep sense of gratitude.  In the words of the Wisconsin Council of Churches’ public policy statement on the environment:

As citizens of Wisconsin, we have enjoyed the beauty and the bounty of our state and wish to preserve it for all who live here and for those who come after us. We know that change is urgently needed if we and our descendents are to continue to enjoy the blessings of this gifted land. The beauty, integrity, and diversity of the earth are an inheritance from the past that we hold in trust for future generations. We must not foreclose their opportunities by causing major long-term or irreversible global environmental changes, or [by] diminishing the continued fruitfulness of the earth .  [Abridged]

The stakes are high, and time is short.  As people of faith, we support the EPA’s Clean Power Plan as a vitally important step in securing the blessings of this gifted earth for all its inhabitants, now and for generations to come.  Thank you."

Dr. Peter W. Bakken
Coordinator for Public Policy, Wisconsin Council of Churches
Coordinator, Wisconsin Interfaith Power & Light



Announcing a grand new book
just happens to be authored by a Dix clansman

(front and back covers)

The adventure tale of Steve Dix during the Vietnam era (1970s) has been
long sat upon by Steve as he pondered how and when to tell the story.
He fled the United States for Canada and ultimately the Yukon Territory
where he, his 18 year old wife and their baby, son Roger
(who grew to become a long distance runner) toughed/eeked out an existence
on the run, far north of the border.

With little money but with the remarkably kind aid of Canadians
and the existing international Vietnam war resistance underground network
Steve and family bravely escaped the US and a war they felt like many others
here and abroad was wrong.

Shirking military service went counter to the duty proclivities of Steve's
parents of the WW II generation -
including my dad and other two brothers of the Dix family
who served honorably in that war and who returned
intact  physically but not without deep psychological scars.

Cousin Steve and our other cousins felt the ravages of WW II
in our own ways, stateside.

This is a book of courage, perseverance and Steve's self-belief
 destined for vast reading and possible theatre-showing, I think.

It is being launched to the reading public Dec 6th at a book-signing party
but is available now through Amazon, Balboa Press, or community

Some correspondence with Steve Dix follows:

In the Yukon Steve and wife built an A-frame rough cabin
with hand tools and the bounty of trees around them
on a remote riverside land-stake.

Chinked with a plentiful supply of moss,
heated by a makeshift oil drum wood stove and with
sleeping space for their then TWO children
in a devised loft at the top of the dwelling,
they survived.

Received fom Steve today via Email:

Hi David (GP),

Thanks for the laminated card.  I think I’ll display it during the book launch party on the 6th. of Dec.
I have not read “Inside Passage” but indeed, it sounds like a good read.  On my list it goes.

  If you know anyone who would like a signed copy of “Finding Honor” I would be happy to ship one to them.  All books I send out from now on will be at the book rate which is much lower than 1st class mail.  The book rate is only $3.17 so I would include that shipping charge in the total cost.  I found out that it only takes two to three days longer than 1st class postage.  

When I started to write the story it began as a screenplay but I soon realized there was so much I wanted to say that I had better attempt to put into book form.  However, having said that, I would love to see it become a movie.  I am going to send out an email invite to the book launch party to as many people as I can think of even if they live far away.  It serves as another way to get the word out.  More than half of the people on my email list do live too far away to attend but maybe they will be interested enough to buy a book anyway. 

It sounds as though you are experiencing an early winter.  But not as severe as the Buffalo NY area I guess.  Our days continue mild with highs mostly in the 40’s & lows in the 20’s.

All for now,

Cuz Steve


To especially Dixians but whomever:

Obtain your Finding Honor (with excellent pictures!)
by writing to Steve at the address on the above postcard. HIs Email address is


Saturday, November 15, 2014

Fox; Manual for life; Song of Hiawatha (excerpt); Affording; Next week



NOTE:  The below article was in the end paper of the NYT Book Review section 11-9-14
The raccoon news has its own BSA Manual always at the ready here at the OF.



World's tallest Indian; been there saw it
Ironwood MI

The Song of Hiawatha (excerpt)

In the green and silent valley,
By the pleasant water-courses,
Dwelt the singer Nawadaha.
In the green and silent valley.
  "There he sang of Hiawatha,
Sang the Song of Hiawatha,
Sang his wondrous birth and being,
How he prayed and how be fasted,
How he lived, and toiled, and suffered,
That the tribes of men might prosper,
That he might advance his people!"
  Ye who love the haunts of Nature,
Love the sunshine of the meadow,
Love the shadow of the forest,
Love the wind among the branches,
And the rain-shower and the snow-storm,
And the rushing of great rivers
Through their palisades of pine-trees,
And the thunder in the mountains,
Whose innumerable echoes
Flap like eagles in their eyries;—
Listen to these wild traditions,
To this Song of Hiawatha!

"The Song of Hiawatha (excerpt)" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Public Domain.

Hiawatha skydome car


a book for Erin's 7th birthday



Coming next week

a review of AZ cousin Steve Dix's new book


about his 10 years in theYukon
which was spurrerd by his and his wife's protest 
aganst the war in Vietnam,,,

Highly recommended by SRN

via Balboa Press, Amazon, etc.

Check this link on it, with a good preview:

The below link suggests Steve's dogsledding days and ETC!

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Poor Judd is dead; ...He says 'tom-ah-tos; After spending; Swedish crepes; Healing Forest

A candle lights his haid:

"I'm not dead yet..."
from Monty Python Flying Circus


Fred and Ginger
"Tomato, to-mah-to"
Tap on roller skates

Call the whole thing off?




After Spending the Morning Baking Bread

Our cat lies across the stove's front burners,
right leg hanging over the oven door. He
is looking into the pantry where his bowl
sits full on the counter. His smaller dish,
the one for his splash of cream, sits empty.
Say yes to wanting to be this cat. Say
yes to wanting to lie across the leftover
warmth, letting it rise into your soft belly,
spreading into every twitch of whisker, twist
of fur and cell, through the Mobius strip
of your bloodstream. You won't know
you will die. You won't know the mice
do not exist for you. If a lap is empty and
warm, you will land on it, feel an unsteady
hand along your back, fingers scratching
behind your ear. You will purr.

"After Spending the Morning Baking Bread" by Jack Ridl from Practicing to Walk Like a Heron. © Wayne State University Press, 2013


Swedish crepes with lingonberries
East Five Points, former Jennifers; Dutchland Dairy etc.

On Nov 4, 2014, we partook -
after voting we stopped again
at this becoming-renowned restaurant


they have this long-cherished dish
- shades of Al Johnson's Swedish Restaurant of Door Co. -
 every bit as good as Al's Swedish crepes
 on the daily Broadway menu at

Three big crepes garnished with caramel
and cinnamon, Order; might take one crepe home
'Michael'-waves nicely.


SRN taking  ART
classes at the Healing Forest Studio

Right across the Five Points from here.

It is located within crawling distance out our windows in the Putney/Odd Fellows hall.

Have had one class so far. So far so good.
In all my 78 yeas I've had no actual art inssruction in drawing.
The below work from my SRN sketchbook shows why I've
always known I have no ability to speak of
yet that has never stopped me.

This serves as a BEFORE example.
As I progress in these studio classes
I will post an example perhaps of my improved progress.

The studio itself is in a back room behind their art store space on the street.
The owners, a young couple, are well-degreed and talented instructors, very friendly.
8 people in the class.

At 2nd class, stymied?





down from St. Paul on one of his road trips
spends overnight at the Odd Fellows

eats breakfast with us prior to his departure at Dave's

Saturday, November 1, 2014

....More badgers....; When I was seven; Radio; A stroll down South St.

The Raccoon Says:
see link below


When I Was Seven

the war in Europe moved in on the domed 
wooden radio with its gothic front where 

Let's Pretend arrived every Saturday, brought 

to us by Uncle Bill and Cream O' Wheat. 

Nathalie and I conspired to send a bomb 
to Hitler hidden in a bouquet of wild flowers, 
or better, in a jar of mayonnaise: either bomb 
or mayo would kill him. I built cities 

out of dominoes where Hitler lived 
and bombed them flat with other dominoes, 
but he hid under the couch and I fled onto it
so he couldn't grab me by the ankles.

"When I Was Seven" by Liane Ellison Norman, from Breathing the West: Great Basin Poems. © Bottom Dog Press, 2012

Natural Gas Band of 2010
~LVD 1 
my father, Army officer above the radio in the above photo where I'm
tuning the mighty entertainment and info machine
enjoyed this group when in CA visiting Natural Gas fan, Uncle Meredith.~

LVD 1 is the source of our ukelele in this posting, mentioned below



A stroll down South Street

At Grand Ave looking down South St. Mia's
pizza at the far end.

One of Waukesha's nicest turrets
juxtaposed with the new Prairieville Apts
under construction.

Famous Ginko trees, the one on right flanking our
'secret' courtyard entrance here at the Putney Odd Fellows.  
Graceful tree, ancient life form.

Waning Ginkos line the other side of South street as well.
Watch out at this time of year because the small fruit
if stepped upon yields a pungent odor.

Squishing people lately ask, "WHAT'S THAT SMELL?

Midway down the block between Grand and Clinton is the very outstanding
Outpost Music Store.  Many music lesson-takers have been taught there
over a period of our residency going on five years.

The place is older than that, too.
Parents seeking instruments for their children
and their famed lessons
as well as folks of all ages find competitive
costs in a happy setting.

I saw an old accordion once in their eclectic display window that I wanted badly, but I resisted it.

This dread-locked chap, Craig Bauman,  is the owner of the Outpost Music Store. On my stroll this day I took my old Roy Smeck Vita Ukelele in for a problem with not holding a string's tune.

This uke dates back to the 1920s when my dad had it at Iowa State Teachers College.
Subsequently four of my children have played with it
sometimes roughly, but I always managed to fix it, not always well.
It looks battle-scarred but the tone is still marvelous.

An instrument like this needs to be played.
I intend to resume my playing.

After tinkering with the uke at the counter for a little while Craig identified
the problem, fixed it, and I was happy.
He seemed to know he was handling something valuable.
He played it expertly and with a burst of speed that made for a blurry picture.

When I asked him what I owed him he kindly said, NOTHING! 

Next picture of the Outpost Music store
taken from their website:

Right across the street from the Outpost is a new business
called Paws for a Moment Pet Spa.
See their card in the last Sat. Raccoon.

Speaking with the friendly operator by stepping inside for a few moments
we determined that this is a good place to get KD Cat's nails done -
just doors away from our South St. residence.

There are often adoptable cats in the Paws window, as the owner
is associated with the HAWS animal shelter on Northview rd.

She is frequently seen out there volunteering, Dee said.


We find that the Italian Restaurant, Mia's at 
the end of the street at Clinton's intersection
is the place for our favorite pizza with the works.

If you carry it home, even my 1/2 block, be careful to carry the box flat,
not on its side.  Any way you carry it, it'll be hot and delicious.

~Much good comes from this single block on South St.~