Monthly Archives: July 2014


July 30, 2014

My four year old Chicagoan grandson is spending a few weeks with us.  I have always loved roaming the woods and exploring the rivers and creeks that I have lived by throughout my life.  Now I live not far from Gitchie Gummi–Lake Superior–and never tire of the beauty, the power, the blessings and gifts that Mother Earth continues to give us despite our ignorance and abuses and negligence of those same blessings and gifts.  Sharing it with a four year old, though, is like adding frosting to a cake–it just makes it sweeter and more beautiful. 

We have introduced him to many “firsts”.  Riding on Poppi’s motorcycle up the hill to the wild blueberry patch–and picking a bucketful for blueberry zert (desert) and blueberry pancakes.  First ride in a canoe. 

Dropping a fishing line into the water and bringing it back up with a tiny sunfish wriggling on the end of the hook.  Camping–roasting hotdogs and sleeping in a tent and peeing in the woods.  First time petting a live chicken.  First time going to a dance recital and a children’s theater production (as in theater performed by 5 and 6 year-olds). 

This morning it was throwing stones in the creek and clambering over the rocks around the small waterfall in the hills behind our house.  

“Wow, this is so awesome!” he says as the canoe cuts through the water and he drags his fingers alongside, creating a mini wake.  He giggles hysterically and jumps up and down when he catches his first fish, a sunny no bigger than my hand.  Always observant, when picking slugs off our granddog Willow’s waterdish in the campsite he examines their ability to stretch and shrink. 

“Chickens have soft feathers!” 

“How does those girls put their legs so high in the air?” he asks about the ballet dancers…

Whispering…”Nonna, is there deer in these woods?  Will we see a baby deer?  Shhh, Nonna…” 

But there are adventures and firsts for grandparents as well.  We learned many new things this week.  For example: upon going into the bathroom one night to get his pajamas on, he announced to everyone that he needed his privacy because no one was to see his private parts.

“You can’t watch me change my clothes because you can’t see my private parts because you know my penis is a private part and you can’t see my penis because it’s a private part so nobody comes in the bathroom. Do you understand?”  He shut the door.

Approximately five seconds later he opened the door, and while standing in the doorway, hand on doorknob, and stark naked, held a conversation with me about what we were going to do tomorrow, etc., etc., etc. Then satisfied with the conversation he proceeded to shut the door and put on his pajamas.

Sequel to this story; Next morning:

“Nonna, I’m full. (4 blueberry pancakes w/ 1 bite left) I’m trying to eat it but my belly says (falsetto voice) ‘I can’t take anymo!'” 

“Are you sticky?”


“Go wash up, ok?”


  From the bathroom we received an announcement… “But don’t come in here guys, okay? Cause I’m washing my private parts. My fingers are private parts you know.”

Upon exiting the bathroom all fresh and clean, Poppi and Morgan proceeded to discuss how we could transport ourselves to the blueberry patch for more blueberries….so Nonna can finish making pancakes you see. We learned many new Spanish words for things such as motorcycle, blueberry, and dog. (My native Spanish speaking Colombian niece, Sharon, who is also visiting us, choked on a piece of pancake trying so desperately not to laugh).  One possible mode of transportation suggested by Morgan included Poppi, Morgan, Sharon, and Willow on the motorcycle. Nonna would have to stay home because there’s no more room. Poppi suggests taking the car?

“But that’s bo’ing!” says Morgan.

Then there’s new camping experiences for grandparents.  Morgan had a good night except when in a sound sleep he wriggled completely down inside his sleeping bag and woke up screaming because he couldnt get out.  He was trying to sit up…scared the bejesus out of us; Willow started howling. Once free Morgan immediately went back to sleep and had no memory of it the next morning. On the contrary, I was awake most of the rest of the night.

More adventures await all of us…there are the places he visited last summer when he was only 3 that we need to return to…the Lift Bridge and the Canal Park Seagulls and Park Point Beach.  We also plan to visit Jay Cook State Park to walk over the swinging bridge.  We might take him canoeing up at Thompson Reservoir and have a picnic on an island. 

His visit began with fireworks…15 minutes after his arrival last week the local ballpark set off fireworks which we could see and hear from our house.  We convinced him it was a special fireworks just for him–welcoming him to Duluth.  Willow instantly became his special pal and sleeps right next to his bed each night which he thinks is great and can’t settle until Willow takes her place next to him.  A perfect ending would be a fish fry at Great Grandma Pat’s.  And, if Auntie Sarah makes it home from California in time the thrill of meeting her horse and going for a ride. 


July 19, 2014


Dear Readers,

Perhaps it is because I am not technically savvy and I am not doing something on my blog site that I should be doing.  Or, maybe this isn’t the greatest site to have a blog.  But, as far as I can see, I have 4 Followers.  If you are actually in your internet browser reading this post on my blog page, “Musings from Mary” at, you will see in the right hand column that there is a place to sign up as a Follower of this blog.  It requires you to have a google account, I believe.

Above it is a place you can sign up to follow through your email.  I assumed that you were then alerted when I posted a new Musing.  Evidently, you actually get sent the posting into your email inbox.  If there is a place for me to know who you are, I haven’t found it yet.

This morning my mom mentioned that she had replied to the Musing I posted on Thursday.  She had replied to my Musing that was in her email inbox.  I never received the reply or any alert that one had been made.  Nor are there any “comments” on the actual blog site at the bottom of the post.  This got me to wondering if there have been others of you unknown readers who have sent comments/replies to me that I never received and know nothing of?

I will get some technical assistance to see if I just don’t know how to work with my own blog site.  🙂  But, in the meantime, my apologies if you have sent me comments and wondered why I never responded in turn.  And gee…I wish I’d received them!  Until I can figure out this glitch, I would encourage you to post any comments at the bottom of the Musing post in your internet browser…sign up as a Follower and not just through email so I know who’s reading my stuff…and, if you wish, contact me directly with comments through my personal email, NOT by replying to the email that Blogspot sent you with my Musing.


I send love and blessing to each of you!


P.S.  If any of you are chuckling because you know exactly what I am ignorant of and can help me rectify this…PLEASE DO!  🙂


July 15, 2014


She recommended I read the book, Delivered from Distraction, about Attention Deficit Disorder.  Just the name of this type of brain-wiring disturbs me with labels of “deficit” and “disorder”.  Labels aside however, I realize with just a quick scan that though undiagnosed, my husband is living inside the ADD textbook.  This is information that will deliver me from “crazy”.  It will also challenge me at the core of my own “brain-wiring”.  The first time the possibility of my husband being an ADD dude was suggested our marriage was beginning to come apart at the seams.  I read enough for it to save our marriage.  But that was some years ago and the details of information fade over time leaving only impressions.  And fundamental wiring resets back to default mode and…oh my.

Shit hits the fan.  Regularly.

Walls go up.  Trust wobbles.   Old tapes start up, repeating old beliefs about value and worth, tangling up the past with the present.

So she tells me to read.  She recommends the book.  I get it from the library.  I scan the chapter titles and turn to the one about the mates of those with ADD.  And I read:

“…tend to fall in love with, live with or marry someone who is controlling, critical, demeaning, belittling and very well organized…”

OMG!  He did!  I am sweet and kind, loving and altruistic.  Sometimes.  I am also a perfectionist and value excellence, organization, beauty and cleanliness nearly as much as life itself.  I have a brain that can scan a scene and see every nuance of everything that might matter–from the dirt in the corner to the crooked picture on the wall, the moods of the people and the way the room is arranged and decorated–the beauty and the base.  I also have the ability to consider the big picture of a situation and quite quickly comprehend what is needed to fall into place and very possibly by when if the goal is going to be achieved.  I am intense and quiet and serious much of the time.  It has been quite a journey to learn to relax.  When those around me don’t value excellence and perfection, or whose disorganization and mess impact my life, my space or my plans, the flip side of my sweet and adorable self rears up; what did the book say…controlling, critical, demeaning?  Yeah.

Because I am also an Aquarian 4 on the Enneagram personality profile, (which by the way means that life should be perfect and beautiful and organized and artsy-fartsy and after all, is really all about me) so when I’m frustrated and feel disempowered or helpless I’m wired to resort to either deep depression (anger turned inside-out) or rage (anger turned right-side-out)…all that controlling, critical, demeaning, frustrated, exasperated, confused, bemused energy flung at the target with the energy of a pro-pitcher…bullseye.  Home-run.  Whatever.  You know what I mean.

“…what they really need is someone who sees the best in them and helps to bring it out.  They need someone who sees more positive in them than they might see in themselves.  They need someone who loves them for who they are.”

Yes.  And not just need.  He deserves to be loved, unconditionally, for who he is–the wonderful admirable qualities–of which he has many–and the other stuff.  Don’t we all need this?  We all screw up.  Even us perfectionists.  Maybe especially us perfectionists.  We all desire to be known truly and fully and loved for who we are.  But our culture conditions us from the time we can toddle that love comes with price-tags and conditions.  There are rules to be followed.  Break the rules, lose the love.  Don’t pay the piper, the song is silenced.  It is no surprise that the young people I work with when asked what the Golden Rule is most often respond quite confidently, “Treat others the way they treat you.”

Long ago I set an intention to put my feet on a path to learn to love–deeply, truly, unconditionally.  As I have walked this path, I have discovered that “nice” isn’t enough.  Nice is like frosting; it can look good, maybe taste good, but can be covering over cake that is inedible.  Nice doesn’t have to be genuine.  Love does.  I’ve also learned that forgiveness and appreciation are key to genuinely loving both the folks at home–which sometimes are the most difficult to love without condition–and strangers on the street and corrupt political leaders and cruel men and women out in the world who seem to care nothing for the misery they create.  It’s easier to find forgiveness for and send blessings to some corporate CEO I’ve never met than my husband who found more interesting things to do than the tasks that he promised to get done 3 months ago…five years ago…uh-huh.  I can curse the CEO knowing that the negative blast of energy I’ve discharged does nothing to help the situation and probably contributes to the dark juju spreading through our world.  Oh well.  But curse my husband and I can see the tear I’ve made in the fabric of his spirit–the wretched unraveling of the seams of our relationship–the heavy energy I’ve created in our home; the wound I’ve made in my own heart.

As I’ve walked this path it takes me higher up and deeper in.  I discover the roots of old things in my heart that prevent love from thriving.  Wow are they stubborn to remove!  I find toxic waste dumps in my psyche where I learned to store the anger and hurt from a lifetime.  Removing that has taken time and care and persistence.  I am learning that I must forgive myself and love myself before it ever can really work to forgive and love another person.  That lesson is sticky.

I’ve also come to understand that loving someone can be as simple as making a choice in the breath between the seconds of stimulus and response.

“Between stimulus and response, there is a space.  In that space is our power to choose our response.  In our response lies our growth and our freedom.”  – Viktor E. Frankl – Man’s Search for Meaning –

And sometimes, love is as easy as smiling.

Smiling is like turning on a faucet…humor and love and happiness begin to flow.

I’m practicing smiling.  I find it makes being cranky more difficult.