Category Archives: Marriage and Family

Calling you to A North American European Experience

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Bonjour from Quebec City in 2012!  Going to French Canada is a low cost European experience. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone and experience a different culture. Don’t get in a rut and take the same boring vacations—enjoy a new experience. The most fulfilled people know that experiences offer more happiness than things. Make memories with your family and friends. Take your bikes along and camp.

All the signs and free handouts are in both languages. The signs are in French/English. You’ll be using the metric system and shopping at unique stores. It will be a wonderful education for all.

We took off for Canada through Michigan and traveled through Sault Saint Marie toward Sudbury. The currency is close to the same—-97 cents to our dollar with the Canadian advantage. We camped with our small trailer and cooked most of our own meals—eating healthy most of the time.  Taking a tour with others along the French River by boat was exciting. An eccentric older man wearing a beret  was our guide.  He took us on a hike pointing out various plants and then he jumped off a 15 ft. cliff inviting us to join him.

Our goal was to eventually visit Quebec and immerse ourselves in the Canadian-French experience. I saw the St. Laurence River for the first time and got emotional thinking of my grandfather who traveled that route to Wisconsin from Norway as a child.

I purchased a phrase book and began to practice phrases I remembered from college.  It was interesting to listen to the radio playing French tunes and giving the weather reports as 21 and hot today. A local stopped and talked with us about  the Black Hawks and Michael Jordon. He then talked about how he knew important people in the government and how he secretly still hoped Quebec would sucede.

Quebec City was spectacular. It dates back to 1607 when Samuel de Champlain settled the area. Notice the age and quality of the building below.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

It was rare to hear English except in  the stores and restaurants.  It’s not uncommon to hear French spoken in Canada; but when you get to Quebec, it’s all in French. So go back in time and get the European experience for a lot less money and time.

We drove home through Montreal and the New York entrance. I have to say as much as I enjoyed being in a European atmosphere, I was ready to be back in the USA where English was spoken. We took the back roads home through the Adirondacks—stopping at Lake Placid, the site of the 1932 and 1980 Olympics.  It’s a beautiful city.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Escaping your comfort zone can make you happier, smarter, more confident, and more satisfied with life, while strengthening ties to the people you love. Talk with strangers. Don’t over plan. Leave some room for new experiences and trust that things will work out for you.

And remember when diving  off a 15 ft. cliff on the French River to take your Canadian money out of your pocket. Au revoir

A Valentine’s Day Tribute-How I Met Larry!

 “The Eyes are the Window to the Soul”Sue_Wedding_Photo_May_2014 copy

Being a child of the 60’s, I remember vividly a group of students and teachers hovered around a radio with the news of the assassination of John F. Kennedy. I came home from my school on the south side of Chicago that evening to my family in tears as we watched the news. It was the beginning of woes—soon after Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King were shot. The world was a different place—-the rug of security was pulled out from under us. But life goes on for a girl on her way to the university.

 My best friend Carol and I set out for Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, IL. We were roommates in the first coed dorms, Lincoln and Douglas. We actually made a list of rules for ourselves which included no kissing on first dates. The other mission in our collegiate life was to visit various churches in our search for meaning and independence from our parents.

 With our meal ticket in hand, we stepped into the coed lunchroom ready to refine the art of flirting. Carol was a master. Eating dinner, by the way, was a secondary activity.

       “Looks don’t matter to me,” said Carol, “I’m more interested in dating a man with intelligence and personality.”           

 I felt rather vain as I pointed to my poster dream boy pinned by my desk. Glancing at George Hamilton made for a good study break. He was tall, dark, muscular and handsome—all the required ingredients. I had my eye on one that fit that description. Eventually Rick asked me out on a date. But his handsomeness palled when he opened his mouth. I guess Carol was right. I needed to look beyond my poster dream boy.

 Pledge time came; Carol put her eye-liner on with a sharpened pencil; we dressed in our best attire; piled our hair high and went to sorority teas. It was an adventure we could not afford. Sororities cost money; so when we were invited back, we declined saying we didn’t want to be stereotyped into a specific group.

 After the tea, we went to the Union where students gathered nightly to dance. Looking to my left, I saw a tall and handsome young man. His engaging smile spoke volumes about his love for music and dancing. I dreamt of peering into his thoughtful, romantic eyes with lashes that would be the envy of any girl. OK, he didn’t have dark hair; he was blonde like me. I imagined myself encircled by his muscular arms. Other than that, he was my poster boy. Now there is someone I would like to meet, I thought. But the evening evaporated and Carol and I sauntered back to our dorms before opportunity knocked.

My rigorous and difficult school load kept me so busy and often overwhelmed. I was thrown into advanced French with a Parisian teacher who spoke very little English. I survived my math class by rewriting my notes over and over again.   Now speech was my specialty. I joined the speech team at NIU and was confident in my abilities. But I was disappointed in my first speech performance. It didn’t go well. I began my dialogue with God, while gazing at the pink setting sun.

 “I don’t know if you are there or not, but if you are—- show me you exist by making something wonderful happen. Right now, I wish I were a cloud floating along care free. But if you are there, you can have my life,” I cried out.

 My older brother, Bill, and I had many conversations on summer nights as we sat on the lawn looked up at the stars.  

 “There is no way we could ever know if God exists or not,” he said. I really looked up to my brother and valued his opinions.

 If God did exist, I thought, couldn’t he communicate with me, as a human being? Couldn’t he reveal himself in some way?

 Carol had a date the following Friday. Determined not to spend a weekend night in the dorm alone, I ventured to the Newman Club for the Valentine Day dance. The band was in high gear, when I looked across the crowded room of dancers. There he was, my poster boy, the very same one I had noticed at the Union the week before. He would stand out in any crowd. “You’re going to meet him tonight,” I heard but wondered where the voice came from. Fat chance I thought. He had a girl pasted on each side of him.   When I came out of the bathroom, he was standing alone. It was now or never to make a move before the pasted sisters returned. His picture was in the newspaper that day along with a comment on his views of the Vietnam situation. I starred at the picture for a long time drawn in especially by his eyes.

 I was basically a shy city girl and my wardrobe was rather drab. My savings went for college expenses leaving little money for anything else. However, my roommate was out to change my image. We went shopping the morning of the dance; she talked me into buying a red sweater with draw strings that gently dangled in front and a red and white checkered skirt.      

 “Red will compliment your blonde hair and capture a guy’s attention,” she said.

Here I was a few feet away from my dream man. I was not going to let this opportunity pass by. I boldly walked up to him turning as bright as my red sweater and said, “What do you think of the Viet Nam situation?” He laughed knowing that I was making reference to his picture in the paper. He looked down at my five foot frame and in a deep voice said, “Aren’t you Sue?” I was ecstatic that he knew my name. He had seen me for the first time that morning walking with his friend Graham. He had me confused with a fast moving girl named DeKalb Sue who was dating Graham.   I melted when he asked me to dance to a medley of Beatle songs and even the cramp in my foot didn’t stop me from dancing. At the end of the dance, he asked if he could walk me back to the dorm. We held hands on the long walk back to the dorm. Girls had to be in by midnight on the weekends. I’d be grounded the next weekend if I was even a minute late whereas the men had no hours at all. At last we arrived with minutes to spare. Placing me a step up, Larry starred into my eyes and they melted into mine. “Can I kiss you goodnight?” he asked. I very much wanted to be kissed by my prince charming. I don’t remember saying “Yes,” but Larry remembers and it was the softest gentlest kiss I had ever experienced. “I can’t believe you kissed me,” I said. I then remembered my vow to not kiss on first dates and this wasn’t even a date. It was a pick up. But Cupid’s bow had landed in my heart and I ran down the hall shouting, “I’m in love; I’m in love”—-knowing that at 18 years old, I had found my man. Yes, I do believe in love at first sight. Shakespeare was right when he said, “The eyes are the window of the soul.”

 He called later that evening and we talked about our families. “Would you like to go out next weekend,” he asked. I held my breath hoping he would say Sunday instead of Saturday since I already had another date. “How about going to the Hootenanny on Sunday night at the Union?” Our dating relationship began.            

 As I found out later, Larry was majoring in Dating 101. He had dated 32 different girls and still reserved Friday’s for pick ups like me. He was making up for all the time he missed as a shy, overworked boy in high school. Larry’s studies were getting little attention. When people asked him where he would be living next semester. He would say, “Off campus,” Yes, I thought, way off campus. He later joined the Marines as an air-controller.

There were certainly ups and downs. After spring break, he didn’t call me. I think he was afraid of getting serious at such a young age. I was very upset and Carol said you need to forget him. But how could I? Back then, we waited for the guy to call. When someone else asked me out, I said “yes” and ended up at the Newman Club dance again. It was Friday—Larry’s pick up night. He saw me with my new date. He danced with his pick up girl right next to us. My heart was throbbing. About 12:30 AM that night he called saying,” I didn’t like seeing you with that other guy.” I think I’m falling in love.” We spent the next day talking, laughing and enveloped in each others arms. We knew there was something very special about our relationship and we didn’t want to lose each other.

 God had answered my prayers by making something wonderful happen in my life. As a result, I gave my life to Christ and soon after Larry did as well. We know that we are gifts to one another and even after 48 years of marriage, the flame grows stronger. There is a God who designed us for one another and each Valentine Day is special to us.

 The fairy tale romance blossomed into marriage and the rearing of three children. Presently we have five grandchildren and we have had many foster children. Regardless of the many ups and downs in our lives,  our prevailing emotion is happiness. The scriptures say that “Two are better than one.” That has certainly been true in our lives. God has used us to reach out to many and to share his love. Larry built a beautiful high ceiling home for us filled with our son’s art work, family pictures and plants too numerous to count. Our love for the outdoors and people is apparent. 

 The world continues to be a place of turmoil, but by making Christ the center of our lives——joy prevails.

 

 

 

 

New Year’s Commitment 2015

CIMG5143“Life is not measured by the breaths we take; but rather by the moments that took our breath away.”

As I was walking through the field house at Northern Illinois University, I felt a large, warm hand on my neck. It was Larry who I had recently begun dating. There was something about his touch that was protective and secure. I turned around and looked up into his beautiful eyes. He walked me to my dorm and pretended to slip and slide on the icy terrain bumping into me and causing me to laugh heartily. Three years later, I began my ‘Life with Larry’. Our 46 year marriage has been filled with humor and adventure. Practical jokes abound. Each night I get up around 2 AM. Just before I rest my head down, my pillow may often go sailing down the hallway. I get even by filling his pillowcase with shoes and other odds and ends. Our marriage is far from boring. Larry is my trailblazer setting us off on one adventure after another. Our partnership has included a tandem kayak and a tandem bicycle. We have a deep love that conquers all. That love has grown by serving one another, by putting one another above ourselves and by forgetting who is right or wrong in matters. We try to follow what the Bible says. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Many times we just agreed to disagree. We can both be very stubborn.  But the Bible continues to be our source for guidance because it never changes unlike the latest counseling advice. Laughter fills our home and we miss one another when we are apart. “Laughter is an instant vacation.” – Milton Berle

We have experienced many of the same problems other couples face like financial woes, differences of opinions, and accidents. But we always have lived life to the fullest. Somehow we were certain we could overcome any trial we faced with our own ingenuity and God’s help. We learned to forgive and forget, to concentrate on the positive actions of our spouse and to hope for the best. Larry will always forget to shut doors and leave a pile of clothes by the bed. I will fail to turn off the bathroom light and mess up anything mechanical. But we accept one another with our weak and strong points. We normally go on volunteer trips together. We have volunteered with Habitat for Humanity, Samaritan’s Purse and Love INC and currently, American Blind Skiing Foundation.  But this time I will be staying home. Larry will be going to Galena, Alaska with Samaritan’s Purse to rebuild homes destroyed by the flooding of the Yukon River. They want people who have expertise in carpentry which I do not have. I hope by sharing our secrets to a happy marriage, you also will find wisdom to build a strong marriage as well.

A Cold Get-Away/ And Christmas Past

Gardinerski 005 Merry Christmas Everyone!   It’s Christmas 2014 in Fox River Grove, IL this year. But I remember a  few years back when we traveled to Yellowstone to celebrate.

There’s nothing like seeing a bison come ambling down a hill behind you as you cross-country ski on Tower Falls Trail in Yellowstone at 6278 ft. elevation and – 6 degrees. Yes, Life with Larry has given me another first time experience with extremes. Our son, Aaron Schuerr, is a chip off the old block. He arranged the two night winter get away at the Yellowstone Institute in the Lamar Valley in Yellowstone National Park. When I heard that it was predicted to be bitterly cold, I assumed we would be canceling.  But the word cancel is not in the Schuerr vocabulary.   I was comforted with the fact that the cabins we would be staying in were heated; nevertheless my bottle of water turned to lumps of ice by the morning. I tried to negotiate with my bladder at 1:10 AM telling it to shut up and let me sleep. But it persisted so I grabbed my fleece coat and gazed at the breath-taking stars that filled the dark sky until I remembered that I had to be on the look out for stray buffalo who often wander into the camp. I heard the sound of a coyote in the distant and hoped it was not hungry for a short squat Norwegian-American. Finally, I made it to the bathhouse 50 ft. away which doesn’t sound like much of a feat, but it was -28 degrees.  “But it’s a dry cold,” they say.

After a hardy breakfast, we covered nearly every inch of skin and donned our cross-country skies to face the -6 degrees. I didn’t want to get out of the truck until August, my 10-year-old grandson said, “Suck it up Grandma,” ——such inspiration.  I shut the door on the van as my thumbs were the first thing to freeze and my toes felt like frozen peas. But soon the constant activity, lack of wind and beautiful sunshine warmed me like slow pouring heavy syrup. “It’s a dry cold,” Larry would remind me. When we got to Calcite Springs, we poured cups of tea and nibbled on Cheesites. A hot toddy was what I had in mind. But that would have to wait.

Montana winters didn’t bother Larry.  He must have been born in a deep freeze.  He even made himself a Frostline tent when the kids were little.  We had a lot of snow that winter so he built an igloo in front of our house on Rt. 31 in Crystal Lake, IL.  It was Larry and our St. Bernard dog.  But he came in at 5 AM in the shape of a cramped pretzel. That night he was testing the quality of his sleeping bag. “My sleeping bag is only rated to -20 degrees.” he said—-his excuse for coming in early. These days we are happy for cabins.

I made it to 2:30 AM before my second trip to the distant bathroom. As it turned out, the temperature improved to a balmy 10 degrees the next morning so we put on snow shoes, a first for us, and became Louis and Clark explorers. By 1 PM Grandpa and Grandma said good-bye to the hardy campers and headed to Chico Natural Hot Springs in Pray, MT to thaw and recuperate knowing that tonight we would sleep in a real bed with real heat.

It was an adventure, I’ll never forget.

Gardinerski 003

 

Fishing for Grandpa Owie

dadA favorite place for us to camp when we are in the Bozeman/Livingston area is in Hyalite Canyon. In the springtime when the water is high, there is a spot in Chisolm campground where our grandkids August, Jasper and August like to fish with their Grandpa Lou. It’s a place where the creek comes in and it’s a supermarket for catching large cut-throat trout. Now the grandkids are fortunate because they have two Grandpa’s who like to fish—–Grandpa (Owie) Larry is a fly fisherman and Grandpa Lou is a spin casting “dirty worm dunker”.

We were out on our summer visit to spend time with our Montana grandkids. The oldest, August, hit a snag and didn’t want to snap off the hook. “I’ll wade out and clear the snag,” said Grandpa. It had been thigh deep which is perfect when wearing waders. “ I started to walk out and found out why there were so many large fish congregating,” said Grandpa Larry. “I took another step and discovered the second reason why the fish were so large. On the third step, I discovered the second most important reason why the trout were hanging out there when I went from knee deep water to water that was frigid and over my head. Trout love deep holes and I found a very deep hole. The first was the in-coming creek which washes in insects that the trout feed on and the second was With one step, I went from knee deep to water over my head. Fortunately waders have a waist belt and an elastic cord around the top of the waders. Both are designed to keep the water from rushing in. But regardless, as I crawled my way to the shore, frigid water began to trickle into my waders and ran down into feet. Whatever water comes in stays in. My grand kids roared with laughter to see my demise. But all’s well that ends well.

 

Daddy’s Home

deboarh

In honor of Deborah Lynn Schuerr’s birthday on October 24th, I share my next Life with Larry story. One afternoon, I was giving Deb a piano lesson. Getting her to practice was like getting a fish to swim in water.  She loved playing. I sat next to her on the piano bench as she was playing a classical song. Then all of a sudden, we were interrupted by a loud boom that shook the house. We looked at one another and  said, “Daddy’s Home”. Yes, Larry had pulled into our down-sloped driveway and threw the clutch into what he thought was park. But somehow he missed the gear. The van was on a run away course and quickly picking up speed. “My first instinct was to try to stop it,” said Larry.  “But I soon realized  tangling with a flying van was not going to make me the winner. I watched helplessly. Fortunately, a newly planted evergreen slowed down its momentum and it clipped  the side of our attached garage with a two foot gash in the wall.” Being a builder/carpenter at the time, Larry cleverly turned the gash into a plant holder. It ended up being a life lesson for the family. Life can throw us some curves but we can always learn and grow from them.

Today Deborah plays not only the piano but violin, and many other instruments. Deb teaches music part time at Headwater’s Academy in Bozeman, Montana and gives music lessons to 48 students.

My mother, Alice Gram, was a music teacher and organist at the Lutheran church we attended.  She inspired our love for music.  On Thanksgiving and Christmas, we would gather around the piano and perform Fiddler on the Roof.  I would play the piano and Deborah played the violin and Julie the flute.  My brother Bill, who has a voice like Frank Sinatra, would  top off our occasion singing “The Old Man River”. He now says,” I am the old man river”.   Aaron would sit at the piano and play jazz while Larry played his favorite instrument—the radio. Happy Birthday to our first born—Deborah Lynn. May the love of music continue through the generations.

 

Volunteering Brings Joy and Purpose in Life

Cascade 2013 020 Larry and I met at a Valentine’s Day dance over 40 years ago. It’s a love that deepens with the years. Hopefully, our story will inspire you to build a stronger and more lasting relationship with the one you love. After retiring from teaching, he has devoted himself to working for organizations such as Habitat for Humanity, Bright Hope, Faith in Action, Love INC and most currently Adaptive Adventures. In the past, Larry managed, with the help of friends and family, to fix up and give away more than 2,000 bicycles. We have always been a team. We have a tandem kayak, a tandem bicycle and I wouldn’t miss a ride on the back of his Gold Wing Motorcycle up to Lake Geneva. This probably is one of the reasons why we are close. We choose to serve together, pray together and play together. Not that we don’t have our problems like any other couple. But our nature is to love and to laugh and it’s hard for us to stay angry for very long. We try to follow what the Bible says. “Don’t let the sun go down on your anger.” Many times we just agree to disagree. We can both be stubborn at times. We look to the Bible for guidance as it is a source that never chances unlike the latest counseling advice. Finding happiness, we have discovered, comes from serving one another and helping others. It once has been said,” A person makes a very small package if he is totally wrapped up in himself.” We both love people, the outdoors, and each other so that is why our latest serving experience is so perfect. It embodies all of our passions. Larry is my trailblazer setting us off on yet another adventure.

For the past four years, Larry has been an instructor at Wilmot Ski Resort where he noticed a group of Adaptive Adventure Skiers in the cafeteria. Being retired military, he immediately wanted to know how he could get involved helping GI’s returning with causalities from Iraq and Afghanistan. He met Reilly who lost a leg in combat. We were so impressed to see how well Reilly skies and how he teaches others the sport. We knew it was an organization we wanted to get involved in. It wasn’t long before Larry was spending two full days a week helping disabled adults and children. My first experience with Adaptive Adventures was a weekend up at Cascade. I thought I was going to shadow Larry. But before I knew it, they had me skiing with Hailey, a legally blind 17 years old. She was so excited to be on the mountain on a warm, sunny day. We talked non stop about her family, school and skiing. As a former English teacher, we discussed The Scarlet Letter, Shakespeare, etc. We talked about poetry slams and decided to write a poem about Jeff, the young man who taught her how to ski. We could only find paper plates and a marker to write our hilarious poems. The most I had to do for Hailey was to take her by the arm as we got off the lift and to guide her down the hill. She did a splendid job avoiding any potential hazards.

We came in for lunch and the table looked like something out of a sci-fi movie. It was surrounded with prosthetic legs. I never knew there were legs for skiing as well as legs for walking. Sarah, an Africa American teenager dressed all in pink, just beamed as she smiled at Hailey and me. She and her friend were taking a break from their morning adventure on sit-skies. Yes, a paraplegic can ski while sitting and control the directions.

Yes, life with Larry has been full of adventures in our quest to help others and in so doing—-help ourselves.

 

Travel to Italy/A Place where Dreams are Born

The Leaning Tower of PisaMy best friend growing up was Adelina Gina Maria Sangineto… I clearly remember seeing her parents grasping her eight year-old hand as she stumbled behind them to register for school. She had sparkling brown eyes, long black hair and an effervescent personality. She soon became my best friend. When I came over to study geometry with her, I could hear the operatic sounds of Enrico Caruso. Her mother always saved a small dish of whatever they had for dinner—-such as mostaccioli, spaghetti or ravioli. It was like stepping into a scene from Under the Tuscan sky.  Adelina would brag about her many trips to Italy where she had 5 proposals and was pinched many times. I knew that someday, I would have to visit this enchanted land. That dream became reality  when we traveled Space A-retired military along with the deployed military to Aviano. It’s a country full of history, beauty and culture. Hopefully, you’ll learn what to do and what not to do while traveling in Italy. You can travel quite successfully without a tour guide as we did.   A copy of Rick Steve’s book and a GPS system will be your most valuable tools.  Learning Italian phrases also is most valuable. You can watch free classes on the internet to perfect your pronunciation.

We squeezed into a Fiat—-a tight squeeze for my husband Larry’s 6’2” frame. Since the car was not equipped with a GPS system,  we were forced to study the maps more intensely. Their Auto-strata system is different from ours. There are no signs like 90 E or W and no shoulders. The local roads use the rotary system which we embraced. Being indecisive, we could go around like a hamster in a cage before being ejected to the correct town.

If you choose to drive as we did, be sure to have a partner who is a good map reader and remember to refrain from harsh words with one another. When we got lost, we made it an adventure. We looked at it as an opportunity to interact with the locals and to see unexpected towns—It’s all new to us regardless. Helpful Italians are everywhere. For instance, a father and daughter were washing their store windows when we approached them for directions. “Porfavore, Dove esta Sienna?” The daughter understood English but did not know the directions. The father knew the directions but did not speak English. They became an exciting duo as the father explained with much gusto in Italian and the daughter erect like a solider translated. The father was so animated that words were not necessary. We often heard easy, straight ahead—but nothing in Italy was straight ahead.

We only had a week in Italy; so we decided to stay at Camp Darby, an army camp in central Italy where we took day trips. We were able to use the dollar at the military base which saved us a lot of money. The locals referred to the area as FIPILI which stood for Florence, Pisa, and Livarno. Our first adventure was to Pisa which is like visiting the United Nations. It is one of the seven man-made wonders of the world. The circular stairway was so narrow; Larry’s shoulder’s touched each side.

Next we visited Lucas, the birthplace of Puccini. It’s one of the two cities with walls totally intact. The walls were built to protect them from neighboring  Florence.

On our way to Sienna in Tuscany, we took the back roads enjoying the country view of olive gardens and abandon villas. Rick Steve recommended a stop in Voltaire where we drove up a mountainside reaching a town that took us back to medieval times.  Colorful laundry hung out the windows to dry.  The town is known for alabaster wares.  We stopped for lunch at a restaurant resembling a catacomb. We had soup, wine and delicious bread. We dipped the bread in olive oil and sweet balsamic vinegar. I didn’t see a pad of butter all week. Eating in Italy is always a wonderful experience.  We had melt in your mouth ravioli while we sat outside under the star-filled skies. Even at McDonald’s the food was good.The spinach bun melted in my mouth and the tiramisu was as smooth as silk.

Next we visited Cinque Terre—-the Italian Rivera with five colorful towns cut into the mountainside. Soon we had our own hiking group. We were drawn like a magnet to anyone speaking English. We met a couple from New Zealand and another from Florida.  We had lunch together and  served as our own tour guides by sharing our knowledge of the area. The next day we read that there was a mudslide that destroyed several buildings including the restaurant we had visited. Several people were killed.

Our final destination was Florence—a place where fairy tales were created. We saw a cathedral constructed with three distinct colors of marble. It glowed in the setting sun.

But the highlight of our visit was seeing the breath-taking and massive statue of David, Michelangelo’s crowning achievement.   On a lighter side, Larry was drawn in by commercialism.could see no reason why he shouldn’t purchase the pair of swimming trucks or apron featuring a graphic picture of David from the belly button to the knees.

It was sad to say good-bye to Italy. But after a week and the difference between the dollar and the Euro, we thought it was wise. We certainly hope to do another week in the future to Venice, Rome and Naples.

Start now saving for your trip to Italy. Don’t be afraid to drive and go without a tour group. Decide before hand that it will be an adventure you will never forget so keep your cool. Meet wonderful people, eat Italian cuisine and see unforgettable sights. Remember learning some phrases, bringing a Garmin and studying Rick Steve’s travel guide should help you get ready. By the way  despite 5 proposals, my friend Adelina Gina Maria never married but instead devoted her life to her parents, her teaching career and traveling to Italy.

Arrividerci/Chow

Sue Schuerr

Do I Smell Coffee?

fall 2012 026I woke up this morning to the strong smell of “no” not coffee, but Bruce’s Hard Wood Ever Ready Polish. Larry had difficulty sleeping, so he decided to polish the living room floor. I bet there are a lot of wives out there who would love to wake up to the sight of their husbands polishing the living room floor. I am blessed with a 6′ 2″-240 lb.husband who is much more domesticated than I am. Larry cleans, cooks, and sews.  Did I mention that he built our home? When I woke up at 8 AM Sunday morning, I thought I was smelling shoe polish on some very large shoes. But instead, he decided that our cleaning equipment was old and out of date, so he went over to Menards and purchased a new mop and broom. The house looked pretty good by the time I woke up. Feeling a measure of guilt,  I took off to play tennis with a friend while he went to war against spiders and box elder bugs who have made their residence with us. The wood burning stove has been going all day making the house cozy with branches he cut down this summer. The neighbors call on Larry to cut down trees and branches—which means wood for the stove.  I sure hope he sleeps tonight, but then again maybe I’ll wake up to the smell of fresh paint instead.

 

Welcome to the Land of Confusion

We went to the Door County 2012 Peninsula Plein Air Festival where our son Aaron was a feature artist. We all stayed at my brother’s summer home in Fish Creek. While sitting around the kitchen table eating corn on the cob, our 5 year old granddaughter, Natalie, bit into her corn and discovered her front tooth imbedded in the cob.

This was a surprise to us, since she never mentioned a loose tooth. She examined her treasure with a big smile. But then at bedtime, she had a perplexed look on her face. “I don’t think I should put my tooth under the pillow in Fish Creek. It might confuse the Tooth Fairy who knows I live in Chicago,” she said. I immediately had a vision of a fluttering Tooth Fairy dressed in proper fairy attire flying back and forth from Wisconsin to Chicago wondering where to land to retrieve Nata’s rare jewel.

Her cousin Isaak said, “Nata, if you lose the one next to it, you can put a straw in the space and whistle. That was an intriguing idea to her. On her way home in our van, Nata held her treasure and examined it often. “I really don’t want to give my tooth to the Fairy at all. I like it too much,” she said. Immediately, I saw the deflated Tooth Fairy evaporate into the mist.

Contact information/sschuerr@gmail.com

To see Aaron’s award winning art go to www.aaronschuerr.com