Since Natureman had a friend or two coming to visit him last Saturday I took the opportunity to go into town for the second public presentation sponsored by the Creating a Healthier Multicultural Community Organization. It’s the group with which I have been helping on their digital team for the past months.The first presentation was on Unconscious Bias: Can We See Our Own Blindspots?

Unfortunately for both that presentation and the facilitator training for their public interactive presentations fell on weekends we were out of town attending our children’s weddings but Saturday I was able to attend the public presentation How Did We Get Here? the Hidden Impacts of Racial Disparities given by Reggie Jackson (now Director of Milwaukee’s Black Holocaust Museum) and Dr Fran Kaplan both of Nurturing Diversity Partners.

Some 200 + community members were in attendance for the two hour morning program of which half would stay for the afternoon Deep Dive Retreat during which small discussion groups would be held led by 2 facilitators, a person of color and a member of the privileged community.

Below is information shared from Mr. Jackson and Dr. Kaplan…

Starting with a description of ‘Racism’ emphasizing the fact it is a social construct.

The morning presentation spoke of these disparities both in the state of Wisconsin and our very own city of La Crosse. Problems discussed included home ownership and its resulting wealth, economics re: employment and income, equal justice under law, children’s well being and schooling, health and healthcare and perceptions of discrimination; all of which should be viewed as a public health issue and be treated as such.

Historically as mentioned in previous blogs La Crosse was a Sundown Town.

And also written about was the national policy of a “deliberate mandated choice for segregation ” called redlining as to where/if folks could purchase homes. “

Dependent on towns, cities/ states the makeup of our state and communities’s populations vary.

Included in the statistics mentioned but not limited to Wisconsin having the 2nd worst unemployment ratio in the country with white at 3.9% and Blacks at 13.5%. Since the official rate is usually half of real rate double these numbers. Here are the numbers comparing La Crosse to Wisconsin’s percentages in 2017.

Who owns the businesses in our community? Of the 2016 figures of 37oo+ businesses- 95% are owned by whites and 5% by people of color.

La Crosse’s poverty status from 2013-2017 /year looked like this…

In Healthcare there is unequal treatment in access, quality and care. People of Color still face high rates of uninsurance compared to white Americans and even with the ACA communities of color face barriers due to economics, geographic, cultural and linguistic barriers and tend to receive a lower quality of care. An alarming fact is the maternal mortality rate due not to poverty but to racial stress…

Regarding education in our area we have a huge disparity in test scores.

The institution of White privilege affects all arenas of our communities and it is up to us to right the institutional injustices by educating all of us. Better now than never. We will all be better for it…

MindLESSness vs MindFULness

When life gives you lemons, make lemonade. Well, sometimes one doesn’t want lemonade. Upon suffering PTSD after a rollover car accident my therapist’s modus operandi was teaching me about mindfulness to reduce stress and anxiety.

I really didn’t buy 100% into the mindfulness approach but tried to apply it rationalizing my fears by ” being in the moment,” recognizing what I was doing. I don’t know how well it worked for me but it did distract me…

After learning about Natureman’s health and being a bit sleep deprived, one afternoon I had moved myself to the back bedroom to be comfy under bedcovers binge watching a Netflix series about interior decorating in addition to another season of the Great British Baking Show. Natureman came looking for me asking me what I was doing. “Well,” I replied, ” I ‘m practicing mindlessness vs mindfulness.” He rather liked that idea.

It doesn’t mean I care less about what’s happening in the world, I just have chosen to indulge myself at this time to cope with our little world here in the End of the Rainbow Valley doing mindlessness. I also finished Queer Eye in Japan and most recently the 3rd season of The Crown.

I don’t think I’ll be really baking a lot as folks have been really kind restocking our frig / redecorating anytime soon nor becoming a historian re: the British royal family but for right now Mindlessness is working quite well for me. Maybe a book is in the making, just kidding but do remember you heard it here first…


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…