Running away

I thought that after how hectic last week was that this week would be a breeze. Boy was I wrong! This week has been just as stressful if not more so. I left off with recent events telling about my brother’s wedding, coming back home and getting a cold, and ended Monday with the news that a best friend of my son’s ran away from home. Things would’ve probably ended up fine if he would have came home later the night he left, but he did not. 

My son and his friend Logan were the last ones to see Jake. Jake bragged on the bus ride home Monday night that he was going to run away from home. His friends didn’t believe him because he said that before several times and never did until Monday. Monday night our summer days reached an end. A cold front brought the wind and rain. Logan saw Jake walking down the road in the pouring rain with a backpack on. Logan called my son and they attempted to stop Jake from running away. He had a backpack full of clothing, water, food, and a couple knives. He told the boys he was going to catch a train out of town. The boys tried to stop him, but he ran off into a corn field. 

At this point, the boys went over to Jake’s house to alert his mother. Jake was born to teen parents who ended up marrying other people and having other children. He was having a lot of conflict with his stepdad. His father lives out of the state. I thought Jake would come home that night. 

Tuesday morning arrived, but Jake had not. His dad flew in to help try to find him. The neighborhood was scoured. Abandoned buildings, deer stands, unlocked sheds, farms, the railroad tracks, the park, fields, and woods were searched with no signs of Jake’s whereabouts. After school, my son and a group of boys looked for him in their secret hiding spots. I offered to search the corn field where he was last seen. All I found was a battery and an empty sleeping pill wrapper on the ground. The corn was over my head and I was searching after dusk. I heard noises out in the field and was convinced there was a bear coming for me. It was scary. When it got dark, we all met back by the road. A night bird cried out. Jake’s mother mournfully responded by shouting out Jake’s name. He was not there. 

We went back to Jake’s house where the boys were questioned some more. Jake’s stepdad was pouring over Google maps and also was looking over the railroad track locations. Jake’s grandmother cried. No one had slept the night before, no one had eaten. There were tears, anxiety, and anger. It was heart wrenching to see the family’s pain. They were so desperate trying everything with no answers. We decided to search outside of a trailer of a friend of the boys that recently moved out that had a broken window. Jake’s dad cried out his name in anguish receiving nothing but empty silence. After this, I took the boys home. It was going to be a cold night, near the freezing point with a boy who ran away a day ago into the pouring rain. We feared hypothermia. We feared death. 

Last night Facebook got flooded with missing person posters. Jake was spotted near a highway about 30 miles away. This morning brought relief that up until last night, Jake was alive! A couple of hours later, Jake was found. 

All of this brought back memories of the times that my autistic brother Matt ran away from home as a child. Multiple times he ran away. At times we had a search for him in the woods near our house. We feared for his safety. He couldn’t take care of himself. It brought back brief moments of the terror we went through searching for a lost child. 

Lately I have seen a lot of banter going back and forth about who has the hardest job as a parent. I want to offer my opinion. Parenting is hard! It doesn’t matter if you are a biological parent, a step parent, a foster parent, a parent of one or ten, or a parent of the disabled. If you want to be a good parent, it is difficult. It takes everything that you have. I think that parents who have both disabled and “normal” kids probably have one of the toughest roads to walk. We need to work together to bring our lost children back home. I am not sure what will happen with Jake now, but I feel a lot of relief that he made it home safe.

20 years and a couple of days

It has been 20 years since I met my husband on his birthday. All I have to say is that it was meant to be or else it probably won’t have happened. You see, I never wanted to rent the apartment above his. I wanted to rent an apartment closer to my college. For some unknown reason, my roommate did not like that place and pushed for us to move to the other place instead. It really didn’t matter to me as much as it seemed to matter to her. So we moved into the apartment above my husband and his roommate. Incidentally, my bedroom was above his. 

At that time, I went out with a couple of friends and played darts. The owner of the bar talked me into joining a dart league. The only problem was that I didn’t have any players. My friends were from out of town and my roommate was underage. So I asked a few neighbors, one of them being my future husband who said yes to the dart league. The day I met him was on his birthday. He answered the door in his short sexy little blue robe. 

A few days later, I was upset that my cat had a hair ball on my blanket. I ended up having to run down to the laundry room to wash my blanket and guess who was there?? In the laundry room, Paul asked me to go out with him and a few friends that night if I wasn’t busy. That night it seemed like his friends liked me, all except for one girl who kept touching his leg when she spoke. That night he kissed me in the parking lot. 

After that night I relentlessly chased him. He liked being chased, but didn’t like being caught. At one point, I decided to walk away. It is not fun chasing someone who appears not to be interested. The moment I walked away, he wanted me back. We have been together ever since. 

In sickness and in health

Last night I went to bed early. I am still feeling sick, stuffed up like a head cold. I overdid it last week. We got home from Texas late Wednesday night. Then on Thursday I ran 18 miles. The afternoon consisted of a staff meeting to update everyone on the conference, and the evening consisted of unpacking then packing for the wedding. Plus dishes, cleaning the house, and trying to put a dent in the laundry sitting around the house for a week. Friday was the 6 hour drive to my brother’s, Saturday was the wedding, and yesterday was the drive back home. I overdid it and now I am sick. I did run 6 miles today. What can I say, I am not good at taking it easy. Only emergencies, injury, and extreme sickness keep me from my exercise plan. 

I have a little secret to tell you. Last year on New Year’s Eve I fell asleep on the couch at 9 PM. Right after Christmas I got sick with a head cold. It took me over a month to get over it. I exercised up until I came down with a fever. Besides the marathon, one of the most grueling times I ran was right before I came down with pneumonia. By the time I got home I had a fever. It was a couple weeks after my daughter got pneumonia on my 40th birthday. 

My daughter and I weren’t the only ones who got pneumonia last summer. My son got it as well. We took a family vacation with some good friends to a remote resort in Minnesota that their family owns. Our friends took our son with their boys. By the time we traveled the 6 hours on dirt roads to get there, my friend told me my son was sick. He had a fever of 105.8 on a Sunday night. We took freeze pops to cool him down. It was horrible. Thankfully Paul asked the dr in advance if we could call in a prescription for antibiotics if we needed it. He felt better in a couple of days. 

On a whole different topic altogether…. I am really worried about my son’s friend. He ran away from home tonight. He told my son and another friend his plans on the way home from school. They tried to stop him. He also grabbed a couple of knives and has a couple hundred dollars on him that he saved up. It is dark and raining. He has been gone over 4 hours now. His mother called several times frantic wondering if we had any more clues of his whereabouts. We are concerned that he may harm himself. If you are the praying type, please keep him in your prayers. I am hoping and praying for the best. 

My brother’s wedding

I feel like I travelled around the whole world in one week. Technically, I could say that I went from the southern end of our country to the far northern end this week. I am exhausted and feel a cold coming on. 

When I said that I live in rural WI, my brother Mark lives in extreme remote rural WI. An area so remote that sometimes no service appeared on our cell phones, gas stations were at times hard to come by, and the largest of towns consisted of a bar, a church, and 2 houses. A majority of people at the wedding never thought that Mark would marry. He lived as a hermit in this remote area for a long time. But just like the seasons change, sometimes our lives takes us on unexpected paths. 

Yesterday was a perfect day for a wedding. It went without a hitch, figuratively anyway. It was an unseasonably warm day. The leaves were starting to change color. My daughter sang a solo for the wedding. My son was an usher. Mark and Carla did not have any attendants. They just got engaged 4 months ago. Mark took Carla out on the lake, pulled out a ring, and dropped it in the water seemingly accidental. He made it seem like the plan was foiled, then pulled out the real ring. They had a small wedding. Carla bought her wedding dress from Goodwill for $25. It was beautiful. I am glad she is tight with money because Mark sure is. 

The reception was at a saloon. They had a bonfire and their DJ also served as their photographer. I have never seen my brother so happy, or dressed up for that matter. We had a great time and are very happy for them. This morning they drove off in their Jaguar for their honeymoon. I am excited to see what the future holds for them.  


Wow, it’s been awhile. I left off at Texas, right? We got home last night at 10. I was thinking about getting arrested so I could prolong my stay in the warmth and sunshine. However, I don’t think that incarceration would be an acceptable reason to miss my brother’s wedding. Seriously though, I’ve never even gotten a speeding ticket. Not for lack of trying though. Lol

Saturday morning Paul and I woke up at 4:30 AM to fly out. I couldn’t even leave the house before something eventful happened. As I was putting on my backpack, I knocked over a candle holder shattering glass everywhere. So before 6 AM, I was vacuuming my floor probably furthering my neighbors assumptions that I am crazy. If anyone was up that early. We got to our hotel in Texas at 4 PM. They put us on the 31st floor. I might as well check that off my bucket list since the last hotel that had that many floors, I pleaded and begged to get a room on the lowest possible floor. Later that evening we met up with conference friends and went downtown for a few drinks. We didn’t know that we went to the college clubbing area. Someone told us that we looked like a group of parents looking for our kids. Nice. I have never felt so old. 

The conference went really well, I really won’t bore you with the details. I did end up meeting with my old friend and neighbor I haven’t seen in 18 years. We watched the million of bats fly out from under a bridge in the evening. Might as well check that one off the bucket list as well. Especially since bats scare the guano out of me. 

It is good to be back home. I really don’t think I could handle staying up past 1:30 AM any more nights. One vendor at the conference threw lavish parties complete with food, free drinks, and dancing two nights in a row. So with the wedding this weekend, I can check dancing 3 nights in one week off my bucket list too. Geez, really there is no nightlife in rural WI. That is why I felt appalled that a conference friend wants to come visit us. The guy is from NYC. He is a retired NYC police officer who was there during 9/11. He is masculine, muscular, and has a great accent. His girlfriend is pretty cool too. Their work has taken them around the world, well everywhere except Wisconsin that is. They may be coming our way and want to visit. Really, there is nothing to do here. What should we do? Go cow tipping? Seriously people, I am just kidding. I have never known anyone who has done that. I feel like millionaires are coming to my run down shack. We’ll see if it pans out. Paul said that they just may want to relax. Which pretty much means there is nothing to do here. 

Well, I had better finish unpacking so I can pack my bags to leave for my brother’s wedding tomorrow. In honor of my husband’s birthday tomorrow and the 20th anniversary of the day we first met, next week’s blog will be mainly about him. Talk to you when I get back….


Wow, what a busy day. Most of the work is done, now I just need to pack my bags. I got in a 12 mile run. You are probably just sitting on the edge of your seat wondering if I am one of those people that work out while I am traveling for business or on vacation. The answer is no, I don’t. Last time I didn’t even pack my athletic shoes, which was stupid because I ended up walking a lot in sandals. Seems like every time I travel now I have been know to add and check stuff off my bucket list. I am excited that I decided to meet up with an old friend that moved to Texas. She has horses. I never rode a horse. I am not the kind of person that says I know I haven’t seen you in almost 2 decades but can I ride your horse. So I am leaving my options open. Maybe it will be uneventful, but it never seems to go that way for me. 

The last couple of days have been stressful, okay the last couple of weeks. I have been flailing around trying to keep my head above water when yesterday a weed wrapped itself around my foot. I went to the pharmacy and my insurance refused to refill my antacid prescription. I was so upset that I started shaking and my stomach burned. “You’ve gotta be kidding me?!?” I pictured myself for a minute at a conference in a room full of people in a fetal position on the floor while vomiting. A little bit of steam escaped sssssssssssshhhhhhhhhit. Then I realized that I can buy it OTC for 10 times the cost. Yippee! After this, Paul and I were invited to lunch with an eccentric elderly couple that we befriended. I was so upset that I didn’t want to go, but when I got there I felt totally at peace. They are a very loving couple with a clean and nicely decorated old house. We ate lunch outside on their patio underneath the grape vines. Paul is going to harvest the grapes and make wine out of them. 

During lunch I mentioned my desire to learn how to shoot a gun. Even though our hostess is in her 80’s she is not a stereotypical woman of her age. She likes to hunt and fish. She showed me her study full of furs she sewed together and spoke of a woman’s survival class where she even learned how to dog sled. She told me that I was the perfect age to start new things. She also mentioned that I should think about joining an elite choir that she is in. I am thinking about doing that with my daughter. We both have a 3 octave range. My daughter is going off to college next year for music. I would love to do something with her before she leaves.  Besides singing in a few weddings, funerals, singing a bit in church, and being involved in community theatre I have not used this gift as much as I would have liked. She also inspired me to do other non traditional things like fix up an old car. 

I have wanted to fix up one of those old hippie vans, I am picturing a robin egg blue VW. It would be awesome taking that on Route 66 tour in vintage clothing. I have auto mechanics in my blood, but being a girl no one ever taught me. Girls didn’t belong in the garage. I love the smell of gasoline and tires, the comforting scents I associated with my family’s garage. My great grandparents started the business and passed it down to their kids. Out of those kids, my dad was the only offspring. He didn’t want to fix cars. He wanted to fix electronics. I want to fix cars, but never learned how. Last week when cleaning out my grandma’s house I found a book on how to fix antique cars. I had to chuckle because the book was older than me. My mom said that I could always take her old MG and fix it up. Maybe that would be a good project to do with my son. This seems like a couch potato to marathon goal for me, but the possibilities are endless. 

My parents sold my grandma’s house today. It makes me so sad to let go of that part of my life forever. It could be worse. I watched my mother’s childhood house burn down when I was 5. A gas station now stands where my husband’s childhood house was. His bedroom was pump number 9. At least a new loving family will have a chance to make memories in grandma’s house. 

I am going to try to relax. It will be nice to learn new things at the conference and visits friends. I am hoping to enjoy some time by the pool as it seems like fall in Texas is warmer than our summers are here. Then come home, do an 18 mile run, plus 18 loads of laundry, and head out for my brother’s wedding. I am excited about the adventures that await. 

The civil war reenactment

Apparently there is a memo out there about the things parents shouldn’t do with young children. Apparently that list is a little longer when you have a newborn. But I am a parent that never got that list. When my aunt and uncle told us that they were going to be in a civil war reenactment in our area, my husband and I loaded up our 5 year old, 3 year old and newborn into the car. 

Everything was going well at first. I just didn’t realize at the time how much acting I was going to be doing in the reenactment part. We had a fun time touring my aunt and uncles tent. My aunt sewed all of the costumes. We had our family picture taken in civil war period clothing. I think every family should do an old time picture just for fun. Then my uncle and two teenage cousins geared up to go to the battlefield for the reenactment. 

This is where things got a little sketchy. I probably should have stayed behind or had my aunt take the baby at this point. But I thought, this is just acting. I mean, how bad could it really be? We took the kids to an arena type area without seats. We were there a few minutes when my baby started crying unconsolably. After dirty looks and nothing else worked, I did what every breastfeeding mother of a newborn would do (except being there, of course).  I tried offering the comfort of milk. At this time, an announcer stated that the event was about to start. He said that there was going to be loud gun shots, loud noises, and cannons. It was advised at this time that parents with young children exit the way they came in. Not even stopping to reattach my bra, I headed out the way I came in. The only problem was that I came in the back way. When I left this way I couldn’t go back in and to make matters worse I was heading straight towards the cannon which was going to go off in a matter of minutes. The man next to the cannon said there was nothing that I could do but run fast. So here I am running as fast as I can with a newborn and my breast half hanging out. 

It really didn’t feel like a reenactment to me. I’m sure that mothers were running away from cannons all the time during the civil war. Lol. I couldn’t stop laughing when the other people saw me running. I haven’t been back to a civil war reenactment since. But with my performance I could say that I had a lead role. I’m surprised I didn’t end up in the local newspapers. 

Treasure or trash?

While cleaning out my grandma’s house a couple days back, I thought I stumbled upon treasure sitting next to the dumpster. This is always a bad assumption. It was a pretty cross necklace that had an ugly charm of a surfer attached to it. The ugly charm went in the trash and the necklace went around my neck. I imagined it to be a priceless family heirloom. The necklace contained the letter W and a crown. Since my grandma’s maiden name started with a W and her family came from England, I imagined a remarkable family crest. Since it also had a couple of dates on it, I checked my genealogy records for a match seeing nothing but the year of death in common for a great great grandpa with the last name W. 

About eight years ago, I started scouring genealogy records when they first came online. I got as far back as I could. But the information did not give me the answers I was seeking. I wanted to know these people, my people. What were their personalities like? Who were they? Who am I? I trudged around libraries, archives, and cemeteries with my grandma. I did find that her great grandpa was a settler in the area. He cleared out his own land and became a part of small town politics. Pictures show him as a wealthy man. He loved cats and his family was involved in theater and art. And that was about it. 

When I was young, only two great grandparents were alive. My dad’s grandma and my mom’s grandma. My dad’s grandma used to be a school teacher. She was a harsh, hard working woman that tolerated no play or sass. Any bad behavior would result in an ass whipping out in the wood shed from her. Even though she passed away when I was about five, stories of her put fear into me.  My mom’s grandma was a different story altogether. She was a chain smoking alcoholic. It is rumored that she drove a taxi cab in Chicago and smoked cigars. She passed away when I was in middle school. I remember her having a cigarette in one hand and a drink in the other.  You could hear her coming when the ice rattled in her glass. She hated kids, if we didn’t get out of her way she would holler. I only have one great aunt left. Soon these memories will be gone. 

Yesterday I decided to research the necklace I found. With the help of Google, I found I was in possession of a Prussian iron cross that was handed out to military personnel in the beginning of WWI. Hmmm, I even found out that this was the third iron cross issued by the Prussian government. It was a cross received by Adolf Hitler. The fourth edition of the iron cross had a swastika on it. I was beginning to feel very uneasy about my new treasure. This was not what I was expecting to find. Although my family heritage is German, I was really confused because they immigrated to America before 1914 the year on the cross. 

I called my mom to tell her about the iron cross. She said, “That old thing?” “Your dad said he won that at the fair when he was a kid.” Mystery solved. I held a gum ball machine treasure. Too bad it didn’t make it into the dumpster after all. I learned another lesson, sometimes trash is really just trash even when you want it to be treasure. Who knows, maybe someday my great great grandchildren will stumble along this blog in the internet archives and find treasure. I wish my children would know how wonderful my grandparents were. I wish genealogy was a search were you find more than dates of birth and death. Maybe someday it will be. 

Even my imagination runs

I took a couple of days off unintentionally, scrapped another blog idea, and just ended up being very busy on a “light” weekend. I ran 12 miles Saturday, stopped in for awhile at a church event, and then spent 4 hours moving stuff out of my grandma’s house. I have learned a few things, like not to run 12 miles and lift boxes for 4 hours. I did sleep good that night! Sunday ushered in the last sailboat ride for the season. The weather was perfect. 

Saturday’s run was average although something strange happened. There were 2 young guys (20’s) in a truck with a trailer behind it. They were at a stop sign when I ran by. The driver was checking me out. Then a half mile later they drove by me again and pulled to the side of the road a mile ahead. This worried me a little. Even though I run on the “busy” roads, it is still pretty rural and no one was around. How could I protect myself from 2 young muscular men if they meant harm? I imagined sinister conversation. “Let’s go get that runner and tie her up in the back of the trailer.” I was praying that they saw my gray hair. After 9 miles, I was a sitting duck. They ended up driving away before I got to them. Pffwhew. Maybe they were lost. Last night my friend was telling me how she was the only woman doing the trap shoot league. It was then that I decided that I want to add learning how to use a gun to my bucket list. I briefly announced my day dreams of running with a gun holstered to my hip or in the back of my running bra fighting off wild animals and predatory men. My husband said I would probably end up shooting myself. Sometimes my imagination runs wild too. 

I am still having some knee pain while running. I feel sore all over and my endurance has been pretty crappy lately. I started taking glucosamine chondroitin like my active brother who had the 2 knee surgeries. Also, like my dog. But if I start blogging about digging a hole to China or escaping my yard to get to my neighbor’s caged rabbits like my dog did while under the influence of this drug please let me know before it is too late. I have been wearing my brace. The only other thing it said to do is lose weight. I don’t even think my doctor would recommend that. I am probably now at the point of being underweight. People are now saying wow you lost a lot of weight. Are you ok? Even though I burn a lot of calories, I am not usually hungry. When I am really stressed, my body tells me not to eat. I could go all day without really noticing that I didn’t eat. Yesterday I ate too much and my acid reflux let me know. I associated eating with pain as a child. For months I barely ate. My parents threatened to take me to the doctor then. I wish they did. 

It has been almost a year since I have been diagnosed with acid reflux. Looking back, I knew I had it since childhood. The burning pain when I ate. The dentist asking me if I had acid reflux because it looked like acid was wearing down my teeth on one side probably from sleeping on that side. Of course it makes sense now. I have been taking Prilosec now for months supplementing it with liquid antacid and close to the max dosage of Tums. What happens when this no longer works? I mean really. My stress levels probably aren’t going down in the next 5 years. Even running is starting to be stressful. Maybe it is time to revisit my bucket list to add some just for fun items to it. Or book that winter trip to Florida. 

Reflections on 9/11

If you are an American and were old enough to remember, you probably know where you were when you heard the news of the terrorist attack years ago. When I think about it, really reflect on it, I remember exactly where I was when I heard all the bad news in my life. When my grandpa died 15 years ago, I answered the phone downstairs in the family room. I accused my mother of lying. I said it wasn’t true. I just spent the day with him a couple hours before it happened. I was in the kitchen when I heard that my grandma died. I was in my bedroom when I called her brother to tell him. I was in 6th grade when I heard that the space shuttle Challenger exploded. Teachers were sobbing over the death of the teacher Christa McAuliffe. The school was torn down over 2 decades ago, but I still remember the room I was in. 

It seems so strange that my children, nearing adulthood, have no memories of 9/11 because they were too young. It seems like yesterday that I was staring transfixed at the TV screen. My good friend called crying first thing in the morning telling me to turn on the TV. I remember feeling numb with shock. This couldn’t be happening. Our old neighbors stopped by later that day. I remember her sobs. The images we were seeing were horrific. Our children watched with us, not understanding. I remember watching the little children in the church nursery weeks afterward crashing little cars into toy buildings while pondering the fate of our country. Even though I didn’t know anyone personally affected by the loss, we as a nation mourned. We watched for weeks hoping that survivors would be found among the wreckage. We developed a new fear of anyone collectively different from us. We had to. We were afraid, even in rural Wisconsin. We worried that our Great Lakes would be poisoned. People in large cities were afraid. Then came the Anthrax scare. It poisoned our mail. We weren’t even safe in our own homes. Health care workers got small pox vaccinations in defense against biological warfare. People feared mass transportation, shopping malls, and traveling in general. Life as we knew it changed. 

Then came the first anniversary of 9/11. I remember exactly where I was. I was in the bathroom that day taking a pregnancy test. Right after it said positive the fire trucks went down my road full sirens blaring with flags behind them. People came out of their homes and waved. Many years have past since then. I was even invited to a wedding that day. I didn’t think that it was right. But could I say it was wrong? Life goes on. Others were born that fateful day. Friends of ours were flying out of the country on 9/11/01 to get married. They spent their scheduled “wedding night” with hundreds of other frightened travelers grounded at the airport. 

Several years back, I had the opportunity to go to the 9/11 site and museum. It was solemn, eerie, and mournful. Outside the site itself, there were people protesting their foreign government in languages that I did not know. I don’t think that I could even describe how empty that felt. I was standing next to a blackened building hearing their cries, understanding but not. Inside the 9/11 site were the names of the victims, some people had roses placed next to their names. This was at the edge of an eternal waterfall. No matter how far you looked down you could not see its ending. I just remember how silent everything was even though there were tons of people there. I don’t think that anyone kept a dry eye in the museum. I think over time our country grew stronger because of this. We pulled together. We made it through. I just wish the cost wasn’t so high. We will always remember the strong and courageous people who gave everything they had that day.