Winter in Wisconsin

Jan. 3, 1978
Caroline and I are sick with colds and coughs. We feel pursed by demons. We ward them off with puzzles and colored dinosaurs.
Jan. 4 -
We are still sick and miserable , oppressed by bacteria.
Jan. 9 - We live in a shell of glowing ice. The sun lights the windows like mother of pearl in candlelight. But it isn't the ice on the windows that keeps us here - it's the ice in the wind.
Jan. 15 - Post-nasal drip has all the misery of polio and poison ivy. You aren't sick so you can't go to bed and you are sick and can't function. It's purgatory on earth. Read more about Winter in Wisconsin


(A narrative sketch, University of Wisconsin, Green Bay)

6th floor of library, looking west to the Bay - a woman w/ankle-length black skirt, a light blue smock over a lighter shirt, multi-colored shoes, tennies? Thick black hair to her waist - books held deliberately, skirts lifted carefully over the wet steps - she moved across the campus from left to right & just before she made her exit, she turned & waved a greeting to a friend. Read more about 11/03/77


The postmaster was visible only from his thin shoulders up. "You caught me on my knees," he said, turning and not getting up. He waited. "I'll have 15 -13¢ stamps," I said. He still didn't get up. He swiveled on his heels, I suppose, although he had specified knees, and got them out. "That's - $1.95," I said. He looked up and his grey eyes looked a little rounder and his grey hair stood a little straighter and his pale lips make a little O. "Go to the head of the class," he said, waving toward the other window. "There's no one over there," I said. Read more about 11/2/77

Jigsaw Joy

There are few things in this world that provide the satisfaction of something done well, done right, and done. As in finished.

That what jigsaw puzzles do for me.

There's nothing wishy-washy about a jigsaw puzzle. Either the piece fits or it doesn't. If you get all the pieces in the right place, you get the picture. Read more about Jigsaw Joy

Winter Thoughts

In my reading of the past few days, I came across the somewhat trite, almost empty phrase, "I love my country." So, having little else to occupy itself at the moment, my mind began thinking about what that meant. The way the writer said it, it had little to do with politics or with country oneupmanship. It had everything to do with a combination of people and history and landscape. And I started wondering about when and how love of country started. Which country? What precise plot of land? And what does love have to do with it? Read more about Winter Thoughts

Let Us Pray

Cruising by the TV this morning during a post-inaugural C-Span call-in program, I heard an "independent" from Minnesota ask, "Why did there have to be so many prayers?"

As I watched the proceedings this morning, I thought about the same phenomenon. Actually what I was thinking was, "My atheist friends must be getting vertigo from all the eye-rolling they're doing this morning." Read more about Let Us Pray

The Price of Paranoia

Ah - now for something refreshingly different. My friend Gilbert, still a friend - I even know where he is - sends me a "memo" from someplace in one of the Carolina's, I think, where he is at a summer philosophy seminar - whether teaching or attending, I do not remember. 30 July 1984. He took his motorcycle out there, and complains, "Bar time here is 2:00 am, and the police are worse than flies on hamburger ... Put you through a routine (recite alphabet standing/hopping on one foot touching your nose alternately with different fingers) worthy of Monty Python - if you giggle they bust you." Read more about The Price of Paranoia

Tomorrow Never Happens

We've come to the turn of the year. This is the last day of 2012, a day so far in the future that I still can't comprehend that it's over with. I'm continually astonished by the juxtaposition of the date on the calendar and the view out my window. For anyone born before the middle of the 20th century, the 21st was a land of promised wonders. But the world outside my window remains essentially the same. People, plants and weather. I can't help but think it's not that different from the world the Babylonians saw. They saw more animals, perhaps, less tech. Read more about Tomorrow Never Happens

First Christmas Memory

That Christmas my grandmother bought me my first doll, a beautiful porcelain thing in white satin and lace, with blonde curly hair.

We were at my grandparents' farm in Iowa. There was a coal-burning stove - I remember my grandfather carrying in the cobs and coal. Cobs, because I suspect they burned corn cobs too. I seem to remember the room and the tree and boxes in the middle of the floor, and my parents and grandparents sitting in a semi-circle, their eyes riveted on me, their one beloved child. My sister was still a year away. Not to mention the four boys. Read more about First Christmas Memory