The Big Eclipse

Where will sun be

On Monday, for the eclipse?

I’ll watch from the sand.


After all the lead-up and breathless anticipation, all the mad scrambling for solar glasses and the day off, it was finally August 21, 2017 and time for a solar eclipse as hadn’t been seen in nearly 100 years.

My plan was to hit the beach with my husband for the duration. The sun would be nearly directly overhead and we would be ready with glasses, sunscreen, something cold to drink and our wonderful dog to keep us company.

Of course, it didn’t turn out that way. We left our old doggy home, napping, and had a nice lunch al fresco as the eclipse got underway, under clouds!

Holding up my solar glasses, I’d say, “There it is! Oh, now it’s gone. No, wait–” as clouds scudded by. Before we were done eating, though, the clouds had mostly cleared and it seemed we’d be in for a show.

We went to a park close by, where the Frisbee golf course made a big open space. Other families were already there, with picnic lunches on colorful tablecloths and dogs on the Frisbee course. One couple lay side by side on the back of their car, motionless as statues, their solar glasses in place.

Slowly, slowly, slowly, the moon moved into position. The breeze picked up and the temperature dropped, not things that would normally bring an exclamation from me, but they did that day. I knew from the program I’d attended at the library a week earlier that here in Milwaukee the eclipse would be blocking 83% of the sun. Even a mere 17% sunshine would keep the day bright and, indeed, the skies only dimmed, as if a storm were approaching. But that didn’t impact the spectacle of the moon’s motion for me.

The last time this event took place, 1918, my grandmother was eight years old. I think that’s the definition of once-in-a-lifetime. And yet they say we’ll have other eclipses in 2024 and 2045, so perhaps not.

I am so glad I took a vacation day for this amazing event. Neal and I had a wonderful afternoon there, under both sun and moon, sharing the phenomenon with everyone everywhere at once, or so it seemed.

Thank you, Universe, for two and a half minutes I’ll remember, forever.


The Clock Ticks

Time with family
Precious and too limited
By our busy lives

I think of it as a hazard of modern life, this overbooking, overlapping, overscheduling, but perhaps it’s always been a challenge to fit in a social life.

Facebook is super for helping me stay up to date with people, one post at a time, but sometimes I want more than that.

“Let’s do lunch”, I write in Christmas cards and a year late I write it again, with no lunch date in between.

That’s no good.

The only thing that works, I’ve found, is to regularly schedule events, i.e. “the last Wednesday of every month”, etc. Or to start scheduling a get-together several months out.

Some cousins and I take at least two months to find a date that will fit us all and that date is usually two more months off! Still, it’s a way to ensure we see each other now and then. (And writing this is reminding me, it’s past time to begin planning our next brunch.)

When I was in 5th grade, our teacher told us, “Every year of your life will go faster” and I remember thinking that couldn’t possibly be true.  But, of course, it is.

So let’s pull up our calendars right this minute, to book some time with someone special. There’s not a moment to lose!

Man on the Moon

Image result


Haiku for you:
Dad called us from play
“Come see this! It’s history!”
When man walked on moon


I was ten years old that summer day. In my  memory, it was Sunday, because Gramma was over and she came every Sunday. On the front lawn, we kids were engaged in a rousing game of Tag or Captain Sneak Up or Statues when the front door opened and Dad stepped quickly onto the porch.

“Kids! Come in here!” he said in an excited voice. “You have to see this. It’s history!”

It had to really be something, judging by his tone, so we hurried on into the living room to the television.

Ant there we saw Neil Armstrong’s first step onto the surface of the moon.  We heard him say that wonderful line, “one small step for a man, one giant leap for mankind”.

I’ll always be grateful Dad made sure we didn’t miss such a magical moment in time.

Of course, when you’re a kid, there are lots of magical moments, so why wouldn’t a man be able to walk on the moon? Anything seems possible, when you’re a kid. Pirate, princess, arctic explorer, astronaut. Why not?

When you are ten, the world is full of wonders and, sometimes, like this time, they’re real.

Summer reading

Yesterday, I re-read Phyllis Whitney’s “Feather on the Moon”. She has always been one of my favorite authors and was an inspiration who made me want to try writing on my own. This book, like all of her titles, drew me in from the very first page, taught me something about the setting (Victoria, BC), and an art form (totem pole carving), and told a wonderful, intriguing story–all in under 300 pages. Lucky for me, she was very prolific, so I have dozens of other novels to revisit. This summer I plan to read a vintage mystery then a contemporary, repeat, repeat, repeat!

In the middle of May, Mama Duck constructed a cozy nest just a few feet from the library’s front entrance and even fewer feet from construction . Every day, she laid another egg until there were nine. Then, she settled in to wait.
One month later, nearly every egg hatched into seven tiny, adorable ducklings. We knew it wouldn’t be long before they would be leaving us for water. Wanting to be sure Mama and her family got where they were going, across busy streets, over curbs and around sewer grates, we decided the minute Mama set off with the babies, a few staff members would trail along.
Police responded quickly to our call to stop traffic. It made a delightful scene, seeing the caravan of ducks toddling across the busy road while all the humans waited patiently. Then, it was a slow and meandering path to the park.
A storm was coming and a big gust of wind knocked the babies down like bowling pins, but they soon righted themselves and got back in formation.
It was raining in earnest as Mama made a (relatively) quick beeline across the baseball diamond and over the grass to the edge of the lagoon. She jumped straight into the water, and every little duckling fearlessly jumped in, too. Then they swam away, still in their tidy line, safely arrived at their destination.
If this were a children’s storybook, this last sentence would read, “and they lived happily ever after”.

Lost dog found

Contact info please!

On your dog or cat’s collar

So they can get home                                   Image result for Dog Clip Art Free Downloads

The other day as I walked to work, I saw two dogs running through the neighborhood.  It was a lovely warm day and they seemed happy to be alive, darting around cheerfully and with purpose.  They weren’t lost, I could tell.  They had just gotten out of the yard.  Both of them wore orange nylon collars, and neither of those collars contained a tag with a phone number or an address. *sigh*

This is at the top of my list of pet peeves.  If they had had contact information, I could have called the number listed and given our location as the dogs took turns licking my hand. If their home address were there on a tag, I could have walked them home, since they were more than willing to be guided, at least a little.

But, no.

One dog lifted his head, sniffed the air and took off running, straight across the park, heading north.  North, to home.  The other dog was happy to stand beside me, even as I suggested we follow his friend.  He and I made slow progress to the corner and were just heading into the park when here came an SUV with a man at the wheel.  The window was down and I could see he looked relieved.

“Are you looking for two dogs?” I asked and he told me one had already come home, through the gate the wind had blown open.  My new canine friend jumped eagerly into the car, ready for a snack and a nap after his morning adventure.  I took the opportunity to implore his guardian to put tags with contact information on both his dogs.  A microchip is essential, of course, but for events like this, an old-fashioned piece of metal dangling from the collar is all we really needed.

If you have a companion animal, put your phone number on his collar.  I put both my home and work numbers, because why not?  Save them–and yourself–a lot of stress and grief.  It’s so simple.  A tag would make a terrific birthday gift for your friends with a companion animal, too. Any season, any reason, put contact info on those furry ones you love.