I bet you like me have certain music that holds special meaning and brings back memories.

In elementary school during a sleepover at my girlfriend Carol’s house while trying olives for the first time and finishing off the entire can we made up a dance routine to the musical South Pacific’s Wash that Man Right Outa My Hair . I don’t think we really understood the subject matter but we obviously loved the music.

Then there was the music that definitely had to do with whom you were dating including break up music like Keke Wyatt’s Used to Love…

But it was definitely Motown that spoke to me and it was seeing this 3rd grade class’s re enactment of the Jackson 5 that will welcome my week and hopefully also bring a smile to your face this Monday. Happy Monday…


Proverbs have always proven to be a problem for me and I’d like to blame other languages’s interference. Sometimes we actually think we know a proverb’s meaning and its usage… Allow me some poetic license here.

Wikipedia explains the proverb of a stitch in time saves nine: that if one solves a problem while it is developing, one will save oneself time and work in the future. It alludes to the art of sewing. So the example of noticing that a hole is developing in a garment and stitching it up when one first notices it, helps prevent a larger hole from developing.

I remember Lyle, the first guy who showed off his appendix scar in elementary school behind the curtain where we hung our coats. If our 3rd grade teacher Mrs. Blankes had known what was going on behind that curtain someone would have been in big trouble.

Today Natureman is getting his staples out just 9 days after the incision was made to remove his kidney, a large tumor mass and his adrenal gland enveloped in another mass. His inner stitches are dissolvable but the outer skin of his incision has been healing with the help of staples, 22 of them to be exact. The scar serves as his badge of courage. If you’re squeamish perhaps you shouldn’t look below but it’s impressive, a real piece of work under his rib cage.

May these stitches on my Natureman save him from a becoming a much larger hole in many’s lives way too soon …

In last week’s FOTO FRIDAY WELCOMED SIGHT he was taking his hospital stroll :


Last weekend was the anniversary of my Mom’s passing and as is tradition within our synagogue one is asked to share a story of a loved one who has passed. My German born Mom knew her way around the kitchen and loved to bake unlike her Mom. When asked if she had a favorite recipe I don’t really think she did but butter had to be a main ingredient.

She was always adding new recipes to her repertoire. Since she was an avid bridge player she was always returning home with new dessert recipes from her bridge luncheons.

At holiday time the oven was always working overtime with wondrous smells wafting throughout the house. Mom also delved into bread making and even if the recipe required oil, the table was never missing a stick of butter to schmear on the finished product.

Before Natureman’s operation my spirituality group got together for a program on Challah( Jewish braided egg bread), its history, how to make it, a sampling and a special tutorial on braiding.

Natureman is the bread maker in the End of the Rainbow Valley and he was kind enough to make up a Challah recipe for us to have some challah ready for the meeting.

Below is one of our household’s favorite Challah recipes from friend Keren’s Mom darkening our preferences when there was a choice!

Sally’s Challah Recipe

2c warm water

2 pkgs dry yeast

½ c oil

2 t salt

⅓ c sugar or honey

3 eggs

7 c flour (4 white 3 whole wheat)

*Place warm water into mixing bowl. Add yeast.

*When yeast is dissolved add sugar, eggs, oil and salt and 3 c flour and mix with electric mixer.

*Add 4 more c flour and mix in with wooden spoon.

* Knead until dough pushes back continue to add flour until it loses stickiness.

* Put in warm place to rise until it doubles in bulk (~40 minutes)

* Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

*Punch down, knead.

* Divide dough into whatever sizes you want. Cover with cloth.

** Recite blessing. (see below)

Braid and put on cookie sheets and set to rise for 20 minutes.

An egg wash on top results in a beautiful finish. ( See photo below)

Bake until brown (~15-25 minutes)

The word ‘Challah’ originated in olden days for the bread dough given to the Priests to use as a sacrifice.

*Tradition has one removing some dough the size of a roll to discard or burn while reciting the following blessing: Boruch atah adonai elohaynu ho dom asher kidshany bmitzvosov vitzevany l’tlafrish challah.

Keren who had brought her risen mother’s dough recipe, demonstrated dividing her recipe dough to make 4 loaves .

Each of the four dough piece was divided into and rolled into 4 strands pieces then braided into a loaf. ( See last photo for the finished project.)

For us to practice braiding I had brought 6 strands of twine rope for each participant as practicing with the dough would have really overworked it the twine served its purpose for making braids of 3, 4, 6 strands. Another member Heidi B had made a hand out of braiding instructions and was kind enough to demonstrate making each braid as we followed replicating with our twine. If you want instructions, I can send them to you.

We could smell it baking as we continued our challah program .

Of course there was butter to top it!

Here’s to you Mom and the love of baking!

*For a round challah Tory Avey alias Shiksa in the Kitchen has a great tutorial and recipe for Apple Challah for more advanced challah makers.Google her.


It’s no secret that my journal efforts have been dealing with our health issues with the introduction the big C to our lives as Natureman one week ago today went under the knife to remove a kidney along with a mass and an adrenal gland. The Caring Bridge website has allowed us to share with continuous updates what is happening in our world.

One element missing in my week has been music. Music that my exercise class usually adds with not only the class routines but also the roundtrip car ride into town with the radio.

On Sunday Enid, an old friend from my Milwaukee days and spirituality group, brought the Milwaukee Jewish Community Chorale she directs to town.

Our eldest son offered to come over to keep his Dad company so I had the opportunity to jaunt into town for a musical reprieve.

Snow was in the forecast so the plan was to go hug my friend and enjoy the first half of the varied program enjoying traditional and contemporary music in English and Hebrew including Hiney Ma Tov ( How Good it is to be with our Brethren). Celebrate and Sing, Halleluyah by Leonard Cohen, Simchu et L’Yerushalayim (Rejoice with Jerusalem), Tfilah( Prayer) and the Angels Sing with a clarinet solo.

Even though I didn’t stay past intermission since the snowflakes had started falling I had gotten my music fix with a plus to hug both La Crosse friends and an old dear friend from my Milwaukee days…


It’s nice to be home again and yet different. The usual roar of the fire’s missing replaced with the sound of the furnace clicking on and off with a warmth of the infloor heat beneath our feet.

Natureman has taken my morning place on the couch facing the double sliding doors where he can watch in 2 directions the birds flitting back and forth to the feeders. They are definitely hungry.

It’s now my job to refill the feeders along with the twice/day visit to the coop to both gather eggs, feed and break up the girls’s ice water. I’ve switched to the smaller water container since the goats are over at our neighbors and the chickens and cats drink a lot less water. Blanca and Bebe, the barn cats , are happy to see me as I arrive earlier to feed them and give them extra petting. Their sleek coats are cold to the touch as winter has arrived.

Natureman ‘s appetite isn’t the best but he did put away a bowl of matzo ball soup for lunch. We both napped during the day and just let Nature take its course although those 2 am hospital vital checks seem to have become part of my sleep pattern too.

Friends generously dropped off a smorgasbord of soft foods including finger jello which certainly brings back childhood memories and also those of child rearing days. (FYI we started with the cherry for dinner ) Thank you.

No mail today due to the holiday but welcomed phone calls with family sprinkled the day and we got a good laugh watching the youngest grandchild tickling her Mom and giggling via FaceTime.

I have to admit dozing before the end of the animated Balto movie and we turned off the lights before 8:30…

I think we’ll sleep better having this country air even the forced air kind…


As promised the nurses had Natureman up and marching in place post op and then out for his first walk after his first night. It was a welcomed sight but an unusual one to see one’s strong spouse needing an extra hand on each side in case he faltered.

I felt both of us had aged a great deal in 24 hours.

One of you reminded me about taking it ‘one day at a time.’ With each time he walks the hospital hallways he will grow stronger and more confident as his sea legs disappear… Poco a poco…

Last week’s FOTO FRIDAY which seems ages ago : Who Wears the Bun in the the Family…


It’s 5 am and the sound of Rock a Bye Baby is echoeing through the hallway. You see every time a baby is born the hospital where I spent the night that tune is played. What a wonderful way to celebrate a new life.  It’s difficult to believe how many emotions one can experience when mortality is on one’s heart. 

I’ve been sleep deprived for the last month (all self imposed I add) by my incessant making of mental lists whether they were for me/us/ the honey do ones. We joked that I had to get all I could get out of the patient before he was laid up for the month of restrictions of lifting, etc… The healing would take a while…

In fact one of those tasks was to replace some roof shingles that had blown off with one of the severe gusty 50 mile an hour winds we recently endured. Who wants a roof to leak on top of everything else going on?

My Natureman, of course, had insisted at first he’d do the re-shingling. Unbelievably when he eyed those missing at the edge of a second story deck peak he admitted maybe it would be a good idea to avoid a fall before his operation. We looked for the extra shingles saved from 18 years ago.

I couldn’t find them in the garage until I spotted them a couple of days ago as I stood at the kitchen sink window. There they were patching up the chicken coop’s little roof. Never did get those shingles ordered/ the Amish lined up to come do the job… The day of the operation was yesterday. 

At this time yesterday I had driven us down our dark country snowy driveway and slippery county highway. It was our first real winter snow during which I as a Southerner would usually stay home/ await the plows to clear the roads but I didn’t have a choice yesterday.

Even the patient wanted me to relinquish driving but the man had enough on his mind and was coffee deprived. As you know we made it as did Simon and Sam. We overheard waiting room conversations of folks who left home at 2 am traveling from their Iowa/Minnesota/ Wisconsin homes much farther away. We all were anxious. We who sat and awaited operations that lasted from a couple hours to much more.

Irv’s operation was shorter than the predicted 5-6 hours. His surgery was done in 3. Recovery room stays normally run an 1 1/2 to 2 hours and we certainly were ready to see the patient after the consult.  

What held things up in the recovery room was that his room was not available. He spent from 11 until almost 3:30 in the recovery room. I was allowed to go in to see him alone  where he asked me how scary he looked. I told him he didn’t look so bad. He knew the kidney, mass and adrenal gland had been removed . Then he added that a nurse told him he had stopped breathing and a couple of chest compressions were necessary to revive him. I thought he must be hallucinating you know still groggy from the drugs. His floor nurse later concurred his story. Indeed the space in between drug dosage had him a bit too relaxed. If I say that my heart lost a couple beats you’d understand, right?

Irv drifted in and out while we visited. He just wanted to hear us talking. Later in the evening he began talking, politics of course. The tears started and it was not a pretty cry. From not knowing how he’d fare the surgery to back to his normal political dialogue was just too much.

Irv’s post op night was filled with a lot of tossing and turning,  bed adjustments, pushing the call button, nurse visits every 2 hours but you know what? The man is here just like that newborn ready to face a new day and so am I…

Thank you to all the medical staff, friends and family.