Thursday, August 30, 2007


The board of the Marathon County Public Library has announced that they have made their selection regarding a Library Director to succeed Mary Bethke. The new director will be Phyllis Christensen. Bethke has been grooming Christensen for several years, with Phyllis getting experience in all phases of operation of this great library. MCPL has nine branches in other communities in Marathon County in addition to the main facility in Wausau.
Ms Christensen is sure to continue the cutting edge library practices put into place by Mary Bethke, but is sure to be adding new "wrinkles" of her own as she establishes herself in the position.
Congratulation Phyllis ....... best of luck in your new position!



Our extended family had a great time on the camping trip. Who knows when the next time the group will get together for such an outing? With the college age kids beginning to cut, or at least loosen, ties it may be a while before they regard it as being cool to get together with the older members of the family and have "fun".
One of the things that made the camping trip great was a virtual lack of insects. I attract mosquitos like a magnet. Others like to have me around because I keep the "skeeters" off of them. I received only two mosquito bites and both of those on the last day. Nobody else was attacked. There were some flies around who were annoying but did not bite. I guess that when August rolls around most insects have already done their thing for the year.
My wife and I are currently planning another trip up the Gunflint Trail in Minnesota, northwest of Grand Marais, right after Labor Day. We were there last year and totally enjoyed it. Friends of ours who live in Washburn would like to see the area. There were extensive forest fires in the region in spring, so it might not look as pristine as last year. The Gunflint has a tremendous history. It ends in Ely, which is the jumping off place for most expeditions into the Boundry Waters canoe area. This could be our final camping trip of the year considering that most places shut down after the Labor Day weekend. Bummer!

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Friday, August 24, 2007


I'm heading out for a three-day camping trip at a campground in the National Forest northwest of Minocqua. This is the final family get-together of the season. A couple of the boys head off to UW Eau Claire shortly. Unfortunately, all of the State Forest campgrounds close after the Labor Day weekend. My wife and I had hoped to do some fall camping, but we will have to look farther afield that some of our normal spots.

I'm taking along some recent copies of the Lakeland Times newspaper to study their articles regarding Arbor Vitae and Vilas County objections to being billed by Minocqua for use of their library. MPL is doing this in conformance to the legislation recently passed which was strongly supported by WLA. The Lakeland Times is sort of the Northwoods version of the National Enquirer so the articles must be taken with a grain of salt. However, I'm sure some people are very upset over the prospect of having to now pay for services that their friends in Oneida County had previously picked up the tab for.

I'll be back on the blog before the end of the weekend, as we are leaving our cats at our cottage, and I have to drive back to feed, water, clean litter boxes, etc. I may have some more insight on the Arbor Vitae/Minocqua situation at that time.

Now where did I put that mosquito dope?

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Thursday, August 23, 2007


Recently my wife and I traveled up to Land-O-Lakes and visited the library. We timed our trip so I could sit in on a Friends group meeting. The President of their group, Tony Zoars, had been a participant in one of the recent Northwoods Friends Conference sessions.

The Land-O-Lakes library is an excellent facility. It was built with cooperation of people from both sides of the Wisconsin/Michigan border. The library associations of both states had to get involved to pull it off. Watersmeet, MI is just a few miles away on the other side of the boundry.

Their Friends group had just completed a very successful book sale. A great portion of the meeting was spent analyzing their sale and discussing what should be done to make future sales even better. They had held a Silent Auction in conjunction with the sale, with goods and services being donated by businesses from all over their area. This was a huge success.

I had to leave before the meeting was over as I was committed to attend the Friends of the Minocqua Public Library meeting that afternoon as well. As a result I missed the part of their agenda when they were going to discuss their "Garden Gawk" (Yes, that's Gawk - not Walk). The Land-O-Lakes Friends are a very dynamic group and serve their library well. It's a super place. Stop in and visit if you are in the area. I'm sure you'll be made to feel very welcome!

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My wife has been doing a lot of birding along the "Bearskin Trail" this summer. This trail starts in Minocqua and runs 17 miles south along the old railroad right-of-way established in the late 19th century.

Recently she was photographing butterflies on a section of the trail near Harshaw when she heard a noise behind her. She turned and saw a very large bear about 20 yards away that had just emerged from the brush. Both of them froze. The bear looked at her and she looked at the bear. Not knowing what else to do ..... she took a picture. The camera settings were for closeups of butterfiles but the shot turned out fairly well. She then slowly backed up. The bear turned and headed north up the trail for about 10 yards and then stopped turned around and looked at her again. My wife and the bear went through this routine two more times and then the bear disappeared back into the trailside brush. Mary decided she had enough photography for the day.

This was the sixth bear she has seen this summer while out attempting to photograph wildlife of a much smaller nature. This was definitely the largest of the six bears she's seen.

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One of the activities I've been engaging in this summer is having fun with my TRIUMPH TR-4A roadster. I bought this car new in October of 1966, 41 years ago! (I've had it longer than I've had my wife). I have yet to hit 29,ooo miles on it. Last year I only logged 288 miles before I put in back in storage, but this year is different. My wife and I have been racking up the miles and having a great time.
I've also been doing a bit of maintenance, thanks to parts from Moss Motors. The car is not restored. It is original ! The only basic things I have replaced have been tires, the top, and things such as windschield wipers, belts, plugs, etc. Actually, I still have the original tires, but I thought it not wise to be running around on 41 year old rubber. I'm having some muffler weld repair done in Minocqua today. I also need to replace the valve-cover gasket as I'm leaking some of that expensive Mobil One lubricant. But no big surprise really. British cars of that era always leak oil from some place.
I had always envisioned that my wife and I would travel around in this thing when we were both retired. Well, now we ARE both retired. It's time to begin! Now if only I could get my 1957 Jaguar running ..............

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Well, I'm finally back to blogging again. I'm not sure if I had "blogging burn-out" or what. But I do know that my two month absence coincides with the first two months of my wife's retirement. She called an end to her teaching career in early June and we have been adjusting to our changed relationship where we are together 24/7, forever!
Obviously, we have spent many summers together in the past, but somehow or another this is different. A lot of the time has been spent at our cottage. But now that there is not that pressure to be at the cottage as much as possible before she has to go back to school, we've also been enjoying spending time at our home. We normally have not spent much summer-time at home.
We've also been doing a bit of traveling around the state, doing some camping, and YES visiting some libraries and Friends' Groups. I've been involved in a significant amount of library organization related activity this summer, and that will continue well into the fall (probably forever). There will be personal adjustments to be made in the sense that Wisconsin Valley Library Service will have a new Director, as Heather Eldred is retiring. Also, there will be a new Director at Marathon County Public Library as Mary Bethke is retiring. It seems like most of the really significant women in my life are all retiring about the same time!
As my wife and I have gotten adjusted to this new phase of our life, and have "re-packed our bags" so to speak, we've found that the way to approach "Forever" is by tackling it "one day at a time". It's manageable that way and downright exciting. Getting up each morning with a spirit of "wonder" as to what life has in store for you that day is awesome.
So far life has not had much blogging on the daily agenda, but that is going to change again. I may not post as often as I used to, I may not do quite as much searching for appropriate graphics, but I may also search out technological features that I never got to before. I will have to contact individuals personally to inform them that I'm back on, for I'm sure I've destroyed whatever reader base I previously had. But even if I'm just talking to myself for a while .... that's OK .... I can live with that.
HELLO (as I knock on my computer screen) IS THERE ANYONE ELSE OUT THERE? (knock...knock) I'M BACK!