Cave Dwellings: July 2013
Cave Dwellings

Buckhorn Creek, Lake O' The Pines, Jefferson, TX

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Guess I need to “tweak” my diet a bit!!

  Everyone who climbs aboard the Medicare Ship gets a free “Welcome” exam from their Doc.  I had mine last May.  That’s when I whined about my arm still hurting after my pirouette into our carpet, and my Doc suggested an MRI, hence finding out I BROKE the darn thing!  My Doc also listened to me crab about my kidney stones and said that a Calcium supplement probably isn’t in my future.  (Little did he know that I was taking one every other day..It was suppose to help keep my bones strong…so much for that pill.)  Dr. Erik also listened to me when I told him about our family history of heart disease….Mom, died age 64 heart attack, her Dad (my maternal Grampa), dropped dead at age 59…heart attack.  Mom’s brother (my Uncle Walt) had a stroke age 67 and died.  And my Dad…he was prophetic and wrote his will out because he wasn’t feeling well, then proceeded to die in his sleep 2 nights later..age 68.  So you see, the “Grabber” has shown his Grimm Reaper face many times in our family…Doc suggested I see a cardiologist for a screening, due to family history.  Good call, Doc.





Yes, my mother was a frustrated hair stylist and apparently loved the commercial about “I’m Buster Brown, and I live in a shoe”…For those of you who have NO idea what I am talking about, this hairdo was deemed the “Buster Brown” .  Named after the goofy lookin’ kid in the commercial who lived in a shoe…Oh, and his dog named Tag.  This haircut was also called the “Prince Valiant”.  (Sorry, youngsters, I,m darn sure you don’t remember that prince!)


Long story short, I had my appointment with Den’s same cardio guy (whom I love and trust, as everyone SHOULD feel about their cardiologist!)…Nurse weighs me and asks me how tall I am..Trying to be funny I tell her that I use to be 6’ tall but have been steadily shrinking to my present 5’2”…She was not smiling.  Then she takes my history, my blood pressure, gets an EKG of my ticker and puts me in an exam room that is the temperature of a meat locker.  As she left the room she informed me that the good Dr. was behind and there were 2 patients ahead of me…THEN she smiles….Not to be outdone, I smiled and pulled a book out of my purse ..I came prepared!!Nyah-Nyah


I need to interject  here that I have NEVER been one with high blood pressure…In fact, they use to laugh and say I was barely alive, running a pressure usually around 110/62…..Remember, I DID live in a cemetery..HEE HEE!  So, my Cardio Doc was fairly concerned when I presented a pressure of 147/90….Needless to say, so was I. 

The exact causes of high blood pressure are not known, but several factors and conditions may play a role in its development, including:

  • Smoking
  • Being overweight or obese
  • Lack of physical activity
  • Too much salt in the diet
  • Too much alcohol consumption (more than 1 to 2 drinks per day)
  • Stress
  • Older age
  • Genetics
  • Family history of high blood pressure
  • Chronic kidney disease
  • Adrenal and thyroid disorders”(?????)

I crossed off the ones I didn’t think applied…Unfortunately I didn’t get to cross off very manyBaring teeth smile!  My Cardio Doc suggested I try to do better for a few weeks…By this, he told me to limit my salt (DAMN, BUT I DO LOVE PRETZELS!)  He also said to limit my alcohol to (1) 5 oz. glass a day..(“Come on,Doc..really?”…”REALLY!!!!” )..He was deadly serious. 

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Then he and gave me a copy of the Dash Diet …DASH standing for “dietary approaches to stop hypertension”..  He asked about stress..Yep, got some pretty good doses of THAT lately. And the “older age, Genetics, Family history, Chronic Kidney Disease I probably qualify for.  Not sure about the adrenal and thyroid stuff, but HEY, why NOT??  Might as well have ‘em all, eh??

  I am also scheduled to have a Stress Echo test at the end of August…AFTER I have been behaving (I will try my best) for a few weeks..I really will behave myself.  If this will bring my BP down, I’m all in!  My Mom and Dad would kick my proverbial arse if I didn’t do as the Cardio Doc said!!! 


“The voice of parents is the voice of gods, for to their children they are heaven's lieutenants.”


Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Our life seems to be “organized bedlam” these days.

OK, blogger friends, I know what you are thinking…Where is Dementia Donna and why is she now blogging only sporadically, with blogs that are waaaay toooo loooong?…(and pretty lame blogs to boot! ) MacGyver and I are feeling very much like we have been put in an old fashion washing machine on the spin cycle and then run through the ringer and hung out to dry…   Not to mention that it has been like a sauna the last few days here..In this heat, if I get my shorts in a knot..I can’t get it out!  Last Thursday was the hottest day of a very hot week…Having no A/C is usually no issue here for us..we “Cave people” have learned how to cope with this after 38 years..Ya gotta shed the animal skin clothing, take the bone out of your hair and just ride your custom log vehicle around in the backyard….



This would have been a family portrait many moons ago…The years have passed and MacGyver and I are in the Cave alone now…and actually brave enough to run 6 ceiling fans, two box fans, and 2 old oscillating fans at the same time!!! HEY, WHATEVER IT TAKES!



Also, last Thursday was the hottest day of the year so far…MacGyver jumped hopped climbed on the trusty John Deere to mow grass before noon (key word here is “trusty”.)  After mowing the front yard, and the immediate back yard, he headed out to the BACK BACK BACK yard.  I need to say here that the lot our home sits on is 59’ wide and 500’ deep..and the house sits on the first 100’…So, Dennis gets all the way to the end of our lot on his UNtrusty John Deere, and the mower quits.  Thank GOD he decided not to try to push it back up to our garage to work on it…NO, NOT IN THIS HEAT!  So…he came back up to the house, got the tow strap out, put it on the old blue truckster, told me to climb in the front seat …we were going for a ride.

No, not a leisurely spin around the block..  we were heading the truck through the looong back yard to pull the mower back.  This involved MOI climbing up onto the mower, standing with my LEFT foot on the running board of the mower and putting my RIGHT foot on the thingy under the seat that lets the wheels turn with the motor off.  Oh, yeah… and steering with my left hand while balancing with my right.…If only there were pictures of this,  but I couldn’t coerce the squirrels into using my phone camera Winking smile!…


Above is the only picture I took of Dennis working on the John Deere, trying to get the mower deck off and find the problem.  After 44 years, I have learned when it is OK to take pictures and when it is best to  “step AWAY from the camera”…You should take notice that the air surrounding the mower is just a little blue??????Rolling on the floor laughing  As it turns out, a belt came off…and my hero, MacGyver, managed to get it back on.  Hey, I DID help him pull the mower deck out and push it back..I’m not helpless!

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There were some pretty interesting storm clouds brewing in the heat last week…and it looks like some stormy weather ahead for the Cave Dwellers as we try to gently coax our elders toward a safer place in an assisted living facility..  Suffice to say that Den and I ARE trying to understand the reluctance of leaving a home you have lived in for over 50 years.  We get that.  Now all we have to do is convince them that it is time to move on to an environment that is soooo much less dangerous for them both…and a place where they will be well taken care of.  As you can see, life has gotten a tad hectic!.. Hey, if the elders don’t want to go, maybe Dennis and I will!!  JUST KIDDING!….But we have taken the tour with our aunt and uncle, and have had a meal there …This place is really nice and they even have their own chef.   You order off a menu for every meal, and you can have a glass of wine or beer with dinner!..WHERE DO WE SIGN UP???Martini glassMug!!…

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Above picture was taken on the lower level of the rehab place Uncle Jr. is now at.  They have an ice cream parlor, a couple rec rooms, a popcorn machine and a beauty/barber shop…We took our aunt and uncle to listen to the Senior Singers in one of the rec rooms…They were very good and we enjoyed their old nostalgic songs…He is doing very well in rehab, and shortly  Uncle Jr. will be discharged…we HOPE to some assisted living.

Our lives are pretty full right now, but I am still keeping watch on the Wrens.  I finally have a family nesting in one of our Wren Houses..after 5 years of putting the “For Rent” sign out.  I have always favored the lovely song of the male Wren..and then I began doing a little research online about them…”Male House Wrens start building several nests at once in hopes of persuading a female to mate with him. Pairs typically break up by the end of each nesting season and choose new partners the next year. House Wrens are aggressive. Single males sometimes compete for females even after a pair has begun nesting. In about half of these contests the outsider succeeds in displacing his rival, at which point he usually discards any existing eggs or nestlings and begins a new family with the female. Although they use only one nest cavity at a time, they vigorously defend all cavities in their territory. As part of this defense, House Wrens often pierce and destroy the eggs of other cavity-nesting species such as Eastern Bluebirds and Tree Swallows that attempt to nest within their territory.”. 




This little female peeks out and even steps out of her “house” every so often.  The 3 photos at the bottom show her walking around the bottom of the house…Notice the middle picture, she is peeking around from the backside..then continues around and goes back inside…I’m not sure what the reason was.  Maybe to check to see if her mate was REALLY out getting groceries, or up to something more sinister..Hot smile

Since the weather has cooled off this past few days, MacGyver decided it was time to prepare the famous Cave chicken on the grill…

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                            Before                                                                     Ready to carve

For those who give a rat’s arse, I will give you the family’s secret recipes …You “home gamers” can give it a try…

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Before I close this very long, tedious blog, I would like to acknowledge the new and brave people who are now waiting, albeit impatiently, in the GMC.  A shout out to Dell, who has been married 64 years, has 7 kids and 12 grands…makes me tired just to type that.  Also a welcome goes out to Heidi and Dan.  These two are retired and getting ready to go “full time”.  They have 4 kids and 9 grands..Seems like Cave Dwellers have acquired some very prolific couples here lately! Winking smile  I know you are ALL waiting for us to get back on the road, and believe me, we would love nothing better!..and we are trying to keep focused on that light at the end of the tunnel!…To quote the words of one of my favorite old rockers, Mick Jaggar…”Lose your dreams and you might lose your mind”.

“Goin' places that I've never been.
Seein' things that I may never see again
And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again -
Like a band of
gypsies we go down the highway
We're the best of friends.
Insisting that the world keep turning our way
And our way
is on the road again.
Just can't wait to get on the road again.
life I love is makin' music with my friends
And I can't wait to get on the road again.
On the road again”

                                                                                                                                 ~Willie Nelson

Monday, July 15, 2013

I Believe In Divine Intervention…

  After our wild trip to Hayward, we came home somewhat revitalized…well, sort of.  Of course our grass needed major mowing.  And I did have a little surprise in the fact that the Wren who was trying to talk us down on our birdhouse rental price appeared to have moved in…beak, bride, and hopefully eggs soon.


Looks like he is checking with “mama”…There is no shortage of flying critters here for them to feed on, but the one on the right is bigger than that Wren!..If he could only drag it inside the nest, they would have an “all you can eat’ buffet for days!  My flowers are beginning to love this stretch of hot weather after a week of almost steady rain…


The purple smoke bush, left, had a heavy dew showing up in the mornings…and the Clematis on the right is beginning to take over our back deck…

Speaking of flowers, we took Aunt Jeanette up to see Uncle Clarence today and I could NOT get over the beautiful flowers on her garden…

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On both sides of their driveway there was a colorful bed of beautiful flowers..Jeanette has tended this garden for 50 years , but this year she cannot manage it.  Those flowers seemed to sense it and they randomly grew everywhere, which made her very happy. She has always had a green thumb, something I am sadly lacking.

I spoke briefly of finding my grandma and grandpa’s cabin in Hayward…Let me preface this by saying the last time I was there was 55 years ago.  It belonged to my maternal grandparents, and when grandpa died in 1950, our family , who lived in Elgin, IL at that time, began going up every summer for 3 weeks vacation in Hayward, WI.. The last few times MacGyver and I have been to Hayward, we have driven around all over the place, trying to get a feeling of where it was..I only knew that it was in an area called North Woods Beach.  For those of you who have been to the North woods, you will appreciate the fact that it could have been anywhere within a couple hundred square miles. I only had visual memories and remembered the fact that is was somewhere between Lake Courte Oreilles and Grindstone Lake…

We decided to try our luck again last Tuesday…in the pouring rain…and not sure where the Heck we were …After floundering around for 1/2 hour, I told Dennis to give it up, and we headed into the town of Hayward, about 12 miles down Rt. 27…On the way, suddenly Dennis spotted a sign on a side road saying “North Woods Beach 3 miles”, with an arrow..We almost missed it, but Dennis backed up and away we went. After getting to the main “drag”, I only knew that our cabin was down one of about 20 side roads almost to Grindstone Lake…I told Den to take any road, just get closer to the lake…We just took a wild chance and turned down Evergreen St.…Nope, the name didn’t ring any bells…and it was still pouring.  We kept going and I told Dennis if by any chance we were on the right road, ( which I was SURE was zip, zero, zilch), the cabin would be on the left…I saw a clearing in the woods ahead and got this overwhelming feeling we were close and told Den slow down….Sure enough, coming up to that clearing I saw .. and remembered…I still tear up thinking about it. My grandparent’s cabin…albeit somewhat different after 50 some years, I recognized it immediately…


Left, what it looked like in the 1940’s..Right is today…The screen porch has been replaced with a windowed room…


Left is the old outhouse that Grampa built and on the right is the fish cleaning house …They are still there.   There was a sign over the outhouse that said “The Potio” (pottyio, get it?) , and Grampa soldered a nickel to the outhouse floor…he had a great sense of humor…The fish house wasn’t built until the 1950’s..and I think my Dad built that to clean his crappie…(No, I didn’t say his crappy…Crappie is a FISH!)




The picture on the left was taken in the 50’s.  My Dad is in the middle…and there is a sign on the tree to his right reading “Sleepy Pines”..that’s what we named the cabin.  I have no idea who those other guys are but I am REALLY glad Dad didn’t sport that same speedo THEY are wearing .Surprised smile


Maybe someone smarter on old cars than I am can give me an approximate year for those old beauties (the cars, not the menSarcastic smile)






Above is my Grandma Fry and my Dad, taken looking toward the road in front of the cabin…Speaking of that road…


Left is what it looked like in the Winter…this pic was taken when Grandpa was still alive and I wasn’t.  I know this because on the back of the photo was written “Grandpa’s dog named Lead”..makes me wonder if Grandpa had a dog sled somewhere..The picture on the right is the one I took as Dennis and I drove down that same road,  unbeknown to us that we were  heading in exactly the right direction…



To make things even spookier, when we finally had enough photos and drove back up to the main road (my Dad called that road The Boulevard), I spotted this empty building and the memories came flooding back..This was the restaurant/bar that we used to go to…My Dad made friends with a gentleman who played the organ there on Saturday nights.  His name was Tommy Fairclough…and Tommy was the one who talked Dad into managing his roller skating rink in a town called Sandwich, IL…And NOW you know how we came to move to Sandwich..It all started up in Hayward ,Wisconsin…

I am still reeling from all of this nostalgia overload…I will NOT forget where this cabin is located.  I even took a picture of the street sign so in case my  forgetful twin,“Dementia Donna”  showed up, I would have some help.Ninja  What a freaky and mind boggling thing this experience was!!!!…Someone’s hand was guiding me that day, I believe it as sure as I believe in Karma….There was some serious Karma working for sure!!!!!

OK, this went on longer than I expected and I need an adult beverage to calm me down.  By sitting down and writing about this, I know now, more than ever, that what happened that day was of no doing of mine….Divine intervention of some kind….Red heartRed heartTHANKS, FAMILY!!!!!

"The wisdom of the ages teaches that each individual, whether believer or not, good or bad, old or young, sick or well, rich or poor, has a personal guardian angel with him or her at every moment of life's journey." ~ Janice T. Connell

Thursday, July 11, 2013

There’s just something about the North Woods!

  Last Sunday, MacGyver and I drove 6 1/2 hours to Hayward, Wisconsin to “play” with our family.  We are now back home and ready to check into “detox” for a day or two ..JUST KIDDING!  Terrie, Tim and family, also Chris, John and family went up for one week.  I must preface this by saying that our family (or some portion of our family) has been vacationing in Hayward for at least 30 years or more.  It just so happens that MY family also vacationed there back in the 1950’s…My Grandma and Grandpa had a cabin there…but that is another whole story which I will tell in the next blog….

  There are also some extended family that go to Hayward..Tom and Leanne, (my hubby’s niece and nephew), Mark and Brenda,(another nephew and his wife…and 2 kids), Big Fluffy (we call Den’s brother-in-law that), Steve and his fiancĂ©, (another nephew).  Also a good family friend, Gene Frieders and his wife and 3 kids go too. Years ago Den’s Mom and Dad went also…(MAN, that took lots of time to get on paper!)

  Dennis and I took our kids up a couple times when they were little, but then we started to go to Disneyworld and that became our summer vaca.  The past couple years, Den and I have been going to Hayward for just 3 nights to be with the family.  As I stated before, it is all we can handle.  Those kids can hurt us in no time flat!!

To save space I will post a couple photos and then a couple collages…



Here are 3 ways to hurt yourself..Den and I stayed clear of all 3 ….Three of the families in our group have boats, so we can all pile in and go to dinner at one of the gazillion resorts or bars/eating establishments on the Chippewa Flowage!



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Above, left pic is our 2 daughters…Then Dennis and his beautiful girls….and me with the same two beauties….I can NOT keep up with these two!! Where EVER did they learn to play this hard?Rolling on the floor laughing



This is what it’s all about “Up North”…Getting “the big one”.. This huge musky is the world’s largest…a whopping 67 1/2 lbs and 60 1/2” long…It was caught on July 24th, 1949, which makes him 64 years dead..He is hanging in the Moccasin Bar, the oldest existing saloon in Hayward,  founded in 1900.





My family always went in this bar for burgers and beers..I was very young then, but can remember “going to town” and all 5 of us having lunch brother, sis, mom, dad and me…It is nostalgia time whenever I go to Hayward, Wisconsin. This was a huge part of my very young childhood.

So….Dennis and I planned to leave very early Wednesday AM…and Tuesday evening about 8PM, we said our good-byes to all the kids, grands and friends.  Ter, Tim, Chris, John , Leanne and Tom were going to go out on the lake fishing that evening.  Our 2 son-in-laws had gotten fishing licenses and they wanted to try their hand at fishing in the boat..All 3 couples piled into Tom and Leanne’s boat and they waved good-bye as they motored away out onto the Chippewa Flowage…MacGyver and I stopped and picked up a pizza “to go”, headed back to our room and hit the sack about 10PM. 

We got up at 5:15AM on Wednesday and were on the road by 6AM…I have to add here that there is almost NO cell phone service up there…You are lucky to get any signal at all…So after about an hour on the road, we finally got into cell phone service and Den’s phone notification signal went off…He checked the message and it said…”John caught a 44” Musky last night…”


Yep….sure enough…John Wolff got himself a very nice Musky. I cannot imagine the bedlam that transpired in that boat of 6 people when that fish was landed…

They don’t let you keep the fish…It is “catch and release” only, so they took the photo and got the measurement…and let Mr. Musky live to swim onto another lure…

As you might imagine, this was a whirlwind trip for us..but what a great time with all those kids…Our son, Kelly and his wife couldn’t go this  year and we all missed them..Maybe next year..  Right now, it is cocktail hour..Let’ see…Do I think I dare drink a Rum and Coke again after Hayward??? Oh..What the Heck..My de-tox period is over…Let the good times roll!!!!