Monday, December 29, 2008

The Closing of an Era

Rick is slowly exiting this world. It is a strange Christmas season.

At about 10:00 p.m., December 23, he fell at home and broke a hip, a wrist, and cut his head. John picked him up. The paramedics came and then the ambulance came. We went to the hospital emergency center. Libby accompanied me. At about 2:00 a.m. Christmas Eve he was admitted to the hospital. December 26, after considering facing several weeks of rehabilitation in a nursing home, he told the doctor that he would have no more dialysis.

Friday, December 26, he went to Hospice Care, a beautiful facility. Today he is very tired. We are wondering how long he will last. His kidney doctor had estimated that he would survive up to two weeks.

Many people have given love and sympathy to him and me. He has had visits from area clergy. I received many hugs and much sympathy from friends, mostly members of the church. People are saying very complimentary things to and about him. It is a positive sendoff. Four of our five children have been able to spend some time with him. The fifth will be with us soon.

He is ready to leave us but we will see him tomorrow. He says he is expecting to see a lot of people on the other side.

Friday, December 19, 2008

A Walk In the Woods--on Snowshoes

I offer apologies to Bill Bryson for borrowing his title. The Woods I enjoyed in the snow are nothing compared to the Applachian Trail.

Ten inches of snow created a wonderful opportunity for snowshoeing in Madison. The channel 3 noon show reported excellent conditions: 24 degrees, snow no longer coming down, and plenty of snow everywhere.

What a beautiful day in Elver Park! I arrived there soon after the snowfall ceased so trails had yet to be groomed, and other snowshoers weren’t there yet. I went cross country through varying snow depths to get to the woods. On the way I detoured toward the much publicized sledding hill (much publicized due to the park being near the television stations), and watched plenty of children going downhill with happy screams and falls. Then I watched a pair of birds of prey, possibly hawks, circle over the trees with graceful glides. I saw them again when I returned at the end of my walk.

New snow is beautiful in the woods, especially when few people are on the trails. A couple of skiers reminded me to stay off the tracks, and I reminded them that I was on the edge of the trail. Trail etiquette prevails; snowshoers are not supposed to mess up the ski trails. On the other hand, snowshoers can go where skiers can’t, because they don’t require trails.

Snowshoeing is a good aerobic exercise, and it enables one to experience the woods in their winter attire. It is a reconnection with natural things. It also is an opportunity to fall or break an ankle if the snowshoer isn’t careful.

Other good places to snowshoe are in the state parks in Door County, especially Potawatomi and Newport, and the place I first found in Outagamie County, halfway between Seymour and Black Creek. If only I could remember the name of it.

Today was great. No falls. The old boots held up. The weather was pleasant. No crowds except on the sledding hill. Saturday everyone will be there. Where were the television people to record this year’s maiden voyage on snowshoes?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

World's Greatest Sugar Cookies

Preheat oven to 375 degrees.

½ cup butter at room temperature
1 cup sugar
Cream butter. Then stir in sugar.
1 egg
1 tablespoon cream or milk
½ teaspoon vanilla
Mix together and add to above mixture.
1 ½ cups flour – I measure it unsifted
½ teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking powder
Mix together and add to above mixture.

Drop from spoon onto greased cookie sheets. Flatten slightly and sprinkle with sugar.
Bake about 8 minutes. Remove from cookie sheets immediately. Makes about 30 cookies.

Thanks to The Boston Cooking-School Cook Book by Fannie Merritt Farmer, 8th ed., Little, Brown & Co., 1948.