Friday, November 13, 2020

November thoughts

It's Friday and time for a poetry break. Find the round-up of today's poems at Robyn Hood Black's blog, Life on the Deckle Edge.  You will find a plethora of poetic ideas there.

The week started very warm, then rain and now a cool brisk breeze. On Tuesday my hubby and I headed to Hacklebarney State Park, one of our favorites places.

The freshwater Black River briskly cuts its way through rocky Hacklebarney State Park, cascading around boulders in the hemlock-lined ravine. Two tributaries, Rinehart and Trout Brooks, also course their way through this glacial valley, feeding the Black River. Even in the heat of midsummer, the temperature of Black River gorge is cool and refreshing.    

Vibrant red and gold near the river.

Those of you who have been there know about the huge rock outcroppings, paths winding through fields of rocks, and a stream running through a valley of boulders, finally ending at the Black River. 

Steep stone steps
Littered with leaves--
Blond, mustard, saffron, gold--
Shards of summer sun.

© Karen Eastlund

Freerange Stock Photo: Hacklebarney

The way was rocky...
  Have a good week, everyone...

Thursday, November 5, 2020

In Everything Give Thanks


In everything, give thanks... 

Easier said than done, right? Keeping a grateful heart is a challenge. So how do we find gratitude in a year that feels like hardship? I don't have easy answers. I have felt great sadness this year, yet I realize that I am more fortunate than most. 

I am reading Liturgy of the Ordinary by Tish Harrison Warren, which is helping me cultivate more God-centered practices in my day. The process is called formation... forming a faithful life. I am grateful for this insightful book and for the women with whom I discuss it.

It can be easy to overlook the gifts in life... I remember my reaction when a friend opened her prayer with: Father, thank you for another day...  The day itself... I had taken the actual day for granted! I had overlooked the gift of time. What else had I overlooked?

Here is a small example of the gifts of my day...

Cool autumn air.

My family... huge, extended, diverse and hilarious. I love you all..

Bright autumn colors. Glorious!

The ability and freedom to express myself... to write, vote, sing, etc.

My body.  I can still stand in tree pose (on one foot)... then transition my body into a letter T. sometimes I need to hold onto something for balance. I'm grateful anyway. 😄

Fresh bedsheets and a warm robe.


Hot running water...

Books, of which I am abundantly blessed.

The quiet understanding of a spouse.


Praise God from whom all blessings flow.... The brilliant blue sky seems to dance with the bright autumn leaves. 

If I take time to be still, to focus on the here and now, I find that gratitude will come. I pray it will be so for you also.

Thanks to Ruth Hersey for hosting our Spiritual Journey Thursday group this month! Find her post and links to others here.

Friday, October 30, 2020

Halloween 2020: Vegetables!!!

 Okay, let's face it... Halloween may not be to our liking this year. Yes, we are wearing masks, and some of us have been overdoing a bit on the candy, but that isn't really the point, right?  I did, however, get a cackle over this:

And speaking of vegetables, I helped with a pumpkin sale again this year. What is it about pumpkins? They always make me smile. Every one has a personality and a bright outfit. This one, for instance, seems to be blushing.

And this one is SO TALL!

What a swirl of delight!  

I learned this year that the gray-green ones are HEAVY!

But I do enjoy them... warts and all...

So... I took a challenge from Matt Forrest Esenwine and tried a triolet...

Pumpkins squat and bright and round
Gathered now in autumn's hold
Your droll expressions so renowned
Pumpkins squat and bright and round
What message in this fall playground?
Leave a seed! Shine your light! Be bold!
Pumpkins squat and bright and round
Gathered now in autumn's hold.

© Karen Eastlund

Join the Poetry Friday gang at Linda Baie's Teacher Dance for more Halloween fun.

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Autumn Haikus and an Anniversary...

 Had a lovely drive along the Black River last week, enjoying the glories of autumn. Colors are just peaking here, but the beauty of the river and the beginning of color filled my happy basket. 

Though snaky limbs hold

sway - no saving stubborn leaves

 from fateful free fall

© Karen Eastlund

Serenity flows

Burbling a bewitching song

Never looking back

© Karen Eastlund

Celebrating our 49th anniversary today...

the adventure continues! 


Don't miss my recent post about my Grandpa Otto's Restaurant,

you can find it here.

It's Poetry Friday again. I can hardly believe it... can barely keep up!

Thanks to Jama for hosting today. Join the gang for an autumn poem 

and scrumptious photos... as always.  Click here.

Husker Du? Part II of Otto Evenson's Restaurant

Long before "husker du?" referred to a rock band, it was a phrase used by many Scandinavians.  "Husker du?" asks... do you remember?  Although I remember my grandparents and the town of Spring Grove, I don't personally remember the restaurant. It closed before my time. Still, it has been a rich topic of conversation with family members as I've asked... husker du?  Here are some of our stories.

 Otto's business evolved over its 40-year lifetime. Below is a photo showing Otto Evenson's Cafe in the early 1900s. 

By the time my dad was four or five years old, serving as the batboy for the the Spring Grove Baseball team as seen in this photo circa 1908, you can see at least one team member and possibly several are sponsored by Otto Evenson's Restaurant. No longer a cafe, it was now a restaurant. When I imagine sewing all those letters on a shirt, I have to laugh. By current standards we might name the restaurant Otto's, or Otto's and Etta's... and the name would be embroidered or printed on by machine. Not so easy in 1908.

Anyway, that's my dad, Emil Evenson, in front of my Grandpa Otto. Otto loved sports, but especially baseball. He often listened to games on the radio and attended local games whenever he could. Fact: The first World Series was played in 1903. Baseball was big...

Spring Grove was never big, but in the early 1900's it had something of a heyday. It had a baseball team, an opera house and it also hosted Chautauqua assemblies. I was pleased to learn that Spring Grove also had it's own cartoonist, Peter J. Rosendahl, who included Otto in some of his cartoons. This one shows a Totning festival... folks from the Toten area of Norway celebrating their heritage. Otto was a Totning, and you can see him in the middle right of the cartoon, standing next to barrels labelled Flatbrød and Sur Melk.  Flatbrød is a traditional Norwegian unleavened bread that has a long history, a staple food for shepherds, peasants and Vikings. The original ingredients were barley flour, salt and water, although over time every family made their own variations on this theme. It is served with just about anything, often fish and potatoes topped with sour cream. Otto may have sold it as a light meal, or as a sweet treat with berries and sour cream or "sur melk." From what I can gather, Norwegians love milk, cream, cheese, and butter... and more is better.

Speaking of dairy products, Grandpa always served ice cream at his soda fountain and with his desserts. The grandkids loved it! Talking about ice cream brought up a story about Grandpa Otto and an ice cream salesman. In the early '40s when money was tight, the Dolly Madison ice cream supplier came to the restaurant and took pains to show Grandpa how to save money by serving a scoop of ice cream that looked full and round, but was actually hollow. Grandpa watched, becoming more and more irate as the salesman proceeded. Otto Evenson's Restaurant was known to serve a good honest meal. How dare someone suggest he cheat his customers out of a full scoop of ice cream? He couldn't stand for such a thing! Otto took the salesman by the neck... and I remember that Grandpa had big strong hands... and ushered him out of his restaurant.  No trickery! Otto would serve a full scoop!

Located at Front and Main streets in downtown La Crosse, the Dolly Madison Dairy began in 1919 as the Tri-State Ice Cream Corp., a company formed from two earlier companies.

In 1939, the company’s name became Dolly Madison, in honor of President James Madison’s wife, Dolley, who was the first person to serve ice cream in the White House. In the 1970s the company became part of Marigold Foods and later was absorbed by Kemp's.

That's my post for today. If you missed the first post about Otto's Restaurant, you can find it here.  I'll share more about Otto and the restaurant in the future. Don't miss it, I've saved some of the funniest stories just for you.

Friday, October 9, 2020

Autumn Garden

 By October I lose my zeal for gardening, although I'm finally quite happy with my zinnias (some creature ate the tender tips off them just after transplanting, so it took most of the summer to get any blooms) and just behind them this year are some gangly spider flowers. They had been volunteering in front of my house and I decided to move them. I rather like the two together.

See the little orange pumpkin, peeking in the corner?  I had plans for it as well as another which was still green, but one night I had a visitor. A deer! I don't usually get them, but I've seen them just west of me. Honestly, I'm just as happy without them. But, one found me and ate the little green pumpkin, half of the leaves on my geranium, and some of my day lily leaves. Left calling cards all across my lawn as well. No manners at all. Later, something came along and finished off this little orange pumpkin too, so... no luck with pumpkins this year. It was a volunteer, too... I moved it to the garden.

So this week I paid little attention to my garden until I wanted some parsley. (Cue the melodramatic music... dun dun DUHhh.)  This is what I found...  if you look carefully you can count seven!

I knew I had to write something....

Party in the Parsley Pot

I hadn't planned to throw a party

But my guests were all dressed up

Striped green suits with yellow spots

Wee little spats on their feet

And when I tried to say hello

Orange feathers rose from their heads

So... for now... 'til I lose patience

There's a party in the parsley pot

                © Karen Eastlund

Have a good week and remember... it's Poetry Friday. Bridget is hosting today at Wee Words for Wee Ones.  Find more poetry fun there.  

Friday, October 2, 2020

New Car... Whoopie!

 I got a new car, and actually I love it, but one issue prompted this poem:

Me in new car!

A Full Six-Year Warranty

My auto blew a gasket
Which began my current tale
Repair was much too costly to endure

So for forty-days and matching nights
I searched and surfed and mused
A used car would suffice, I felt secure

At last I cast my lot and got
A wagon of my liking
Style, pep and cost all fit me well

But driving home at highway speed
A rhythmic moaning hounded me
And where it came from, I just couldn't tell

So I returned to Service
Inquired about the moan
"It's tire noise, no worries!" he said to me

"In time it may get better...
Tires are fine... See ya later..."
I love my car... but can't help moaning about the six-year warranty.

© Karen Eastlund

It's Poetry Friday... join the crowd at Tabatha's to learn about a new novel in verse called Beauty Mark, all about Marilyn Monroe. Did you know she owned over 400 books!