Category Archives: Lost Loon Lodge

I say hello, you say goodbye…or maybe it’s vice versa



(from my friends at the zoo…)

It’s hard to know where to begin. This post could very well be the Reader’s Digest version of my entire life here in the blog community.

-Rich left the big corporation, is once again thriving on his own, we no longer have a need to pay thousands a month to have a residence in Chicago, we sold the condo in 63 days flat, 63 days is an eternity when you don’t have a corporate paycheck, Aslan Movers is back on the job and we are very much headed in the right direction. Smaller footprint, modest lifestyle, mountain mama, what have you. A life I have only dared imagine and now we begin to build.

– We’re moving. Gak. Actually, we’re going into storage until we can move properly next April 1. Until then, it will all be packed up, climate controlled and we will be less fortunate than our furniture, wilting away in Florida all summer. Except I am planning my escape from that. Friends in Michigan? Here I come..

-If a dentist ever suggests crown lengthening to you, just head for Tijuana or CVS and buy dentures. ‘Nuff said. Except that five weeks out and it appears I have retained a molar that was otherwise history. So, that’s a good thing.

-Things at Lost Loon Lodge have taken a turn for the worse. Only there is it still dropping into the 20’s and snowing at night and poor Bud had a fall and then it turns into a very bad movie for a while- about 14 hours- where it’s fortunate he didn’t get eaten by a bear. He is now safely warmed up and recovering in The Big Hospital (Marquette) and talking the ears off his charming CCU nurse. This is all relatively new news, in the past 72 hours, and we shall see what the next week brings. But please send him good thoughts.

-I am here and there and no place in particular, just very unsettled. I flew to Chicago yesterday, have flight times to the U.P. jotted down just in case, but sister Laurel is enroute to be with Bud. Memories of mother, siblings, Marquette Hospital, 18 flavors of cafeteria jello. If possible, I head to Michigan Wednesday for Dan’s birthday, a dear friend’s wedding and a much needed MEETING OF THE CLUB (BCMA).

– The Asheville house is rented until next February at which time I will finally get the kitchen and garden of my dreams and live happily ever after with my sweetie. Until then, I at least caught up on some much needed nap time with him yesterday. We dragged out the futon, he turned on golf and we snuggled down for the nicest 4 hours imaginable. I’ve seen Rich a total of  2 weeks since Christmas so this week is a little hiatus in marital heaven.

-NOMO released their new CD , Invisible Cities, and the son is getting ready to leave on tour, States and Europe. You can hear a live NPR studio excerpt here or a free Amazon download here. The bari sax player is cute, yes?


-The Snarl and Misha are simply wunnerful, wunnerful. She’s flying in the face of H1N1, natch, and heading to a remote Mexican village to design and implement a non-profit organization for local fishermen and their families. Then Abby and Misha will go to Russia to Meet the Parents (the other parents).


-Rich’s new book is in pre-release and he is busy getting ready for a book tour. Wherein we will spend more time apart this fall because I have felting classes to teach and cats to consider and as much as we love each other, we might possibly resort to domestic violence left alone in an RV and 60 cities. I plan to drop in and out of the tour as it makes sense. I am incredibly proud of him as he writes about the obvious that everyone always ignores but is really really important. The book is called Simple Community and you can read his book blog here. And see a picture of the two of us, me before I stopped dyeing my hair.

THERE. Now I am caught up and can begin to blog again and that will really (really) make me happy. I can’t guarantee a daily post and you’d never believe it if I said it but I will get back to regular reading and writing and commenting as time permits.


So. Here is my first little regular blog entry in quite a while. Today was a weepy, happy /sad day. Today, I said goodbye to the Lincoln Park Zoo and my friends said goodbye to me.

I walked around the zoo after the morning meeting and Caruso, the white-cheeked gibbon, hopped down from his branch and came to pat me and  snuggle through the glass. So, I cried a little bit. I am now, too, as I write. It makes me very sad , this parting of ways. But here’s a bit of interesting karmic-type news: I’ve been thinking about what I might plug in, zoo-wise, in the Asheville area. I have Boyd Hill in St. Petersburg but still. I had been reading up on the Western North Carolina Nature Center and also lining up my references, to apply for something there. They do raptors and otters and bears and also, red wolves.


I’ve talked to you about the red wolves at Lincoln Park Zoo. The breeding pair there has had pups two years in a row and this year they again made national news. The thing about these wolves is that they are beyond endangered; they were declared extinct in the wild in the late 80s. Once a major predator in the Eastern U.S., they have been virtually no more, except in captivity. One of the wonderful things that zoos can sometimes do is re-introduce a species to the wild and undue the damage of our human follies. This year several of our tiny days old pups were sent to the North Carolina Red Wolf Recovery  Program where they are being fostered by a pair of wild wolves. Hopefully they will soon join the other 100-120 wild red wolves now living in North Carolina. 


Two pups stayed at the zoo with their parents and today, a day when I thought to take my camera, mother brought them out of the den. They aren’t great photos because it was some distance and through the fence but here they are. A critically endangered animal being brought back from extinction. Aren’t they beautiful? And now I may get to commune with the program helping their siblings on the other end. How cool is that?


If you don’t link to any other links in this post, please take a moment to check out this two minute you tube video, which I took from Rich’s blog. It’s very smart, very cool and right on. My teacher friends and those of you who work with young adults will love it.

Super Glue: The Breakfast of Champions

There we were, about to sit down to Bud’s birthday dinner and all I had left to do was make the garlic bread. Instead, I sliced the tip of my thumb mostly off. I was using this incredibly sharp and big professional bread knife that I just had sharpened- I bring the knife down from Chicago because I use it to slice felt cane “buttons.”  After I stopped hopping around and whooping, I considered going to the hospital for stitches because they were obviously in order. But there was Bud, on his last night here and Abby (egging me on to the hospital) and Misha, standing by and observing in his quiet Russian fashion. And then I considered that we are without health insurance and, while the cobra clock is ticking, nothing is in place at the moment.  The next plan was to tape it back together- after all, there was nothing remotely jagged about the cut. A quick, clean slice. Hurt like a mo  After bleeding through a couple towels and about a dozen bandages of all shapes and sizes- butterfly, knuckle, big, little- I finally stemmed the flow of blood long enough to get to the dinner table and every one was well into their spaghetti sauce before it started up again. Somewhere in there Misha said quietly, “glue it.” What? “Use glue. It will work.”

Those Ruskies are a clever lot. Further internet research revealed that Super Glue is, in fact, a not uncommon solution to cuts, esp. for those rugged types like backpackers and construction workers and soldiers. I’m not sure it’s meant for reattaching parts but I just want to report that I believe it is working. This is not certain because I have about 8 layers of bandaids also securing the whole mess but after a thorough rinse in hydrogen peroxide hurt like a mo, Super Glue, neosporin and a big wad of latex, I believe the fix is sticking. I’ll check later today, after a glass of wine.

I’m thinking that a little book of home remedies and alternatives to seeing the doctor could be a big seller until we get this national health insurance situation sorted out.


knife1(The offending weapon. I hope there’s no wool lint in this cut.)

In other news, Bud has flown back to Lost Loon Lodge in time for another 6-8 inches of snow, but he called to report that the car started right up and he was home safe and sound. We had a great visit, mostly visiting on the porch and eating in. We went to see the manatee a few times. He really loves the manatee. We went down to Boyd Hills and I took him and my brother on their own private tram tour, pointing out gators, gopher tortoises, ospreys on nests and snakes. Now I’m enjoying a few low key days of quiet and getting ready to teach a felting class. We also have a wildlife weekend coming up at Boyd Hills and I’ll be giving tours and working at the aviary. We’re going to be doing a little fund raising, selling screech owl boxes. I’m also making some of these little needle felted owls to donate but it’s a bit awkward with this thumb deal.


(They’re Great Horned Owls. Use your imagination.)

Coming round. I keep looking for my dung beetle buddy, in particular. Rabbit, rabbit?

Ay! Octogenarians and Crab Shacks!

topsyturvy1(Our feathers have been a bit ruffled of late. Mrs. Hannibal taking a break from the nest.)

My lord, if this State isn’t crawling with both. And they are attracted to each other like giant sucking magnets, pulling gray hair to grease in an inexorable march across 4 lanes, bridges, intracoastals and gulf coast. Please, kill me now. Although before dinner would have been better.

The routine of our life is currently all topsy turvy and my feathers have been ruffled for well over a week. Every day is a new battle. The conflict du jour involved the crummy health insurance company we have for the next 3 days until we have none, the internist’s office and yours truly, alternately snarling and weeping through 4 hours of phone crud. It seems like a simple and obvious issue: it makes good sense to get 3 months worth of our prescriptions filled before March 1, right? Before the insurance runs out? To save almost a thousand dollars? But nitwits are running the world, it seems and Cigna won’t let us fax the paper scripts we have in hand and the internist won’t accept a fax requisition from Cigna since she already handed us paper scripts and heaven knows, I have a plan to sell all of my class C narcotics Synthroid on the street at my earliest convenience. Because junkies swoon for Synthroid. And Lipitor. Together, they’re better than roofies, better than goop, better than E. Slip a girl some Synthroid laced with a statin and have your way with her. All offers to return the paper scripts by mail, filtered through automated menus, receptionists, nurse’s message machine, nurse, physician assistant…OMG. Finally, I get the attention of Tamika who says have Cigna fax it to her and she’ll take care of it. On the other end is 19 year old Cigna’s Tina: giggle, like, you know, like, it’s really hard to send the fax to the attention of a, like, one, like, a single person because, you know, like, there are so many. You know. Giggle.

So, you know, like, I’ve been giggling my way through numerous obstacles but these are also the ten days when Bud comes to visit, get warm, be fed, chat with another person rather than the cats and the television and celebrate his birthday. It’s a very happy time with it’s own set of adaptations. For one thing, he normally has no reason whatsoever to modulate his voice- he’s free to mutter or yell all he wants and the television and cats remain consistently responsive. For another, at home he’s free to do all his sleeping sitting upright on his sofa in front of the television. Here, however, the only television is in our bedroom so he’s been snoring watching with me each evening until I finally, sometime after midnight, say, “Bud. Bud! BUD!! WAKE UP AND GO TO BED!” “HUH??!! WHAT??! WHAT’S WRONG?!! Oh, I saw this movie already. This is where Nicholas Gage has that baby…”

imagesThis afternoon Bud and I drove south over the beautiful Sunshine Skyway to meet up with Cousin Betty. We did this last year, too and if we do it next year, I will finally have all 11 cousins and their spouses, dead or alive, all 24 children and spouses, divorced or not, all 38 grandchildren and 4 great grandchildren vaguely committed to some blurry family tree.
Bud and Betty grew up together on the east side of Detroit as part of one big extended family. They fished in the Detroit River and raced around like dervishes in those days when kids could run amok and hit each other with baseball bats and adults didn’t intervene. Betty and Bud have great tales to tell and they also have to have the annual rundown of funerals, attended and missed. It’s actually very interesting and entertaining and would be completely fine if only not for…

p318732-naples-joes_crab_shack1The Dreaded Crab Shack. Crab Shacks dot the interstates in Florida so old people can “meet halfway” for the “early bird special” and “happy hour” and still drive home before dark. Crab Shacks are full to overflowing with way too many functionally deaf screaming gaily at each other about the demise of Aunt Hazel. Crab Shacks insist you have their signature appetizer special, which is always some sludgy mix of cream cheese, green onions, sour cream, Krab and bits of some white fish. It’s always called Crabby Joe’s or Crabby Bob’s or Crabby Tom’s Signature Crab Dip. It’s always “baked to perfection” and served with melba toast. Sickeningly sweet/sour bad margaritas are very popular as is Long Island Ice Tea. The grease of fried clams, fried shrimp and fried catfish, usually all mixed up in a basket together, is cut with the vegetable du jour, which is always watery succotash. And everybody is just screaming with conviviality. Screaming. It’s like they are all high on Synthroid and Lipitor. If, however, you are the designated driver who is not deaf, this air of jollity starts to wear a bit thin, sooner rather than later. And the grease. With sour cream, butter, cheez whiz, dip, sauce and more butter. Aren’t these people afraid they’ll damage their arteries in later life, like when they are 103?


Still. It was a hoot and I cracked up when the whole wait staff came clapping up to the table with a piece of birthday be–candled Key Lime pie and Bud started clapping too, thinking it was for someone else. And then he was really delighted that it was for him. Happy Birthday, Bud.


budandbetty(Don’t say anything. Some day you will be paritally deaf and your vision will blur.I took it on my cellphone.)

There’s something about this in Revelation, I think…

A brief update from the tip of Michigan’s heavenly Upper Peninsula, where the black flies are drinking blood in preparation for an earthly takeover of biblical proportions. They move in clouds, like a horror movie phenomena. Miz M would probably call it The Suckening.

Dan arrived in Chicago at one in the morning because Amtrak has a way with prioritizing trains coming into Union Station. The passenger trains are lowest. And then we dragged out at 5 AM to try beat rush hour traffic. That worked for the first eight minutes north out of Chicago where, apparently, Milwaukee rush hour traffic begins. Who knew? The only work I go to is the short 4 block walk to the zoo. And so, I drove through rush hour for 4 hours until we turned off towards Green Bay, Dan woke up from his “nap”, we found cheap (er) gas, greasy donuts and life was great.

The drive from Green Bay was beautiful- every tree still blushed with Spring, lots of dear and eagles- and the conversation was delightful. About an hour north of Green Bay my cell phone rang and it was Bud, calling to ask me if I had spoken to his doctor yet and I said yes, let’s meet at Gemenani’s for an early dinner and discuss it. Oh, my he was SO happy. I hadn’t told him we were coming because, well, let’s face it: At 80, living alone in the north woods, it would have been a huge disappointment to him if I had said we were coming and then that somehow fell through. Besides, he gets so excited over company that he runs around cleaning and grocery shopping and getting generally exhausted and I didn’t want him to do that, especially since he’s nursing an infection and on antibiotics prior to oral surgery. So, until we were halfway through the nine hour drive (not complaining! Less than the 13 hour drive from Ann Arbor!) and north of rush hour in Milwaukee, it was good that he didn’t know.

We met at this favorite little Italian restaurant in Hancock and Bud looks great. He couldn’t stop laughing and jabbering and smiling long enough to eat. So we lingered quite a while and it was wonderful to watch him and Dan together. Every time the waitress came by, Bud would announce, “This is my beautiful daughter and my grandson! They drove all the way up to see me! But I already told you that, eh?” It’s embarrassing, eh?

I sent them off to Lost Loon Lodge together with the groceries we brought up and I’ve ducked into the historic Laurium Manor Inn where I have a room for 99.00/night, with a toilet that flushes and, as far as I can tell, no mice dodging over me in the night. And wireless internet. Truth be told, it also has massive Victorian fireplace, both a king bed and a double bed, a private 10 x10 bathroom and a giant private covered balcony. Your vacation dollar goes a long way up here.

I’m headed up to the lake shortly and then, apparently, we are turning around and coming back to town for the day’s big adventure: going to Walmart. I know you will find this hard to believe but I have only been in a Walmart once in my life- today will be the second time. Bud says, “I hate to patronize those bastards, but it’s the only place that has the TV I want.” Actually, it’s the only place, period. There are no other stores up here, save for the 213 tiny shops that sell pasties (not to be confused with pasties! We’ve had that discussion, remember?) and thimbleberry jam.

Bud has had a lot of time to research this television purchase and he knows the exact model number of the 42″ behemoth he plans to get. He’s read the reviews, seen his best friend, Ray’s and he has his social security check in his pocket- literally. He’s so determined, he gave away his existing television to my nephew a couple weeks ago- just unplugged it and stuck it in the car with my sister as they drove back to Wisconsin. I’m not big on big televisions but in this case I’m happy to facilitate, with Dan doing the lifting. Bud loves sports and he needs the connections of TV and internet just to be in touch. And I’d like him to sit relatively still after his surgery rather than climb around patching the roof from winter and dropping the dock in by himself. This surgery also means he’ll have to briefly curtail his work on his crpyt he’s building back by the outhouse. Shhhh, he’s trying to hide this activity from the health department and township officials. But that is the lead up to one of the next (official) chapters. Oh, and I now have a title for my book: Resting Places.

I’m flitting about briefly this morning, like Robin Andrea’s damselfly, over scones and tea here at the Inn but I probably won’t comment until tonight or tomorrow. Did I say thank you yet for all the nice comment you’ve been leaving? Thank you.