30 August 2008

Happy Labor Day


We are heading to the cabin and I will be off-line until late next week. Getting out of Dodge to avoid the heat and the convention. My previously planned 11-day vacation is now cut down to about 4.5, but at least we will miss the chaos created by the GOP, the protestors and the media! My husband said he kind of wanted to stay around to experience it. This coming from a man who has never had to drive through grid-lock to get to work each day.

I'm looking forward to the weekend with no TV, no computer, no phone and no political campaigning!

Cleanliness, Godliness and such

*NB: This post is rated PG -- pretty gross*

The other day I was sitting on the couch reading a story to the kids. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see my son's finger was busy in his nose. Here's the conversation.

"Mark, please quit picking."
"I'm not picking, I'm cleaning."
"Picking, cleaning, same thing. Please stop."
"I'm not picking."
"Yes, you are."
"Well, there's dirt in my nose and I don't want it to be dirty, so I'm cleaning it."

Ah, logic. Hard to argue with it.

27 August 2008

Paging Pascal...what are the odds?

Empirical evidence that God has a wicked sense of humor.

Long story short, my husband and I knew twenty years ago that if we ever had kids, we would homeschool them. We also had names picked out for our kids before we even tied the knot.

After 15 years of marriage, we finally were blessed with kids and we did stick with the names we had picked way back when. Just yesterday, I posted about having my homeschool all ready to go. Today I went to the library and picked up the last few items I had placed on hold. The school books are on the shelf, I'm (sort of) mentally prepared, chairs are at the table, crayons in their container, and we're good to go.

But, it's always somethin'. My grandfather had a German saying for this kind of irony or chaos or kick in the head, "Da gegen kannst du nicht machen." Which I interpret to mean, "There's nothing you can do about it." I don't even know if this was his exact saying because my grandfather passed away before my parents married and this phrase was handed down through the family...and they don't speak German, so I suspect it might have some translation problems. But the gist of the saying is that life is beyond anyone's control, only God, with His wicked sense of humor, can see (or orchestrate) what's coming.

Today is a perfect example of this. Ha ha, very funny, is what I'm thinking.

There was a message on the answering machine when I got home from the library. Had dropped hubby off at the airport, so he wasn't around, which may be lucky for him because I think I almost burst.

The message: Nova now has an opening in their program for Mark for Kindergarten.

Back at the beginning of the year, I posted about trying to get Mark into this school, but he was placed on the waiting list. Despite our overwhelming desires to homeschool, this program was really close to what I would teach at home, minus any religion, of course, so it was very tempting. We threw our hat in the ring and Mark came up 17 on the waiting list (which totalled over 100 prospective students). Figured being placed on the wait list was God's way of affirming our plans, solidifying and clarifying our decisions. Everyone was on the same page.

Not too long ago, I had hubby call the school to see how the wait list was doing. The lady said that Mark, surprisingly, was now at 14, but hubby got the impression from talking to her that very few kids ever escaped from the netherworld of the wait list. Having the wait list move three was unheard of. So, even though I thought another call to the school just a week ago might be worthwhile to find out our status, I chalked it up to my momentary Type A personality relapse and fought the urge to call.

Then look what happens! Just days before public school starts and days before I planned to start homeschooling!

The spin I'm putting on this (instead of thinking God is messing with my already precarious mental state) is that God wants me be the one to make this decision so that I'm completely comfortable with keeping Mark home. True blue, cut and dried, period at the end of the sentence. Instead of the school leaving us sitting indefinitely in the anteroom on the wait list, I get to tell the school that I sincerely and genuinely want to keep Mark home -- we are homeschooling. 100% sure I'm doing the right thing, 100% my (our) decision, 100% no regrets.

Ha, ha, I'm so not laughing!!

26 August 2008

T minus two weeks and counting

Houston, we have a homeschool.

I think the anxiety has finally set in. I was going along as cool as a cucumber, then hubby's work had to send him out of town during our family vacation at the cabin which started a chain of events -- all of them making my Type A personality rear its ugly head.

The time at the cabin was understood to be the last hurrah for my son and for me, since I needed, really needed, this mental break before undertaking my first year of homeschooling. Actually, up until my husband told me he had to go out of town, I was completely excited about homeschooling and had to resist the urge to jump the gun and delve into Kindergarten. Then the silliest thing, him having to go out of town and cutting into our vacation, made me freak out...if only on a small scale.

I had my curriculum all decided on and had the calendar planned for several months. I even had slush time planned into my schedule in case I had to slide things, figuring I would HAVE to slide things. Then I realized I forgot that Thursdays are out for homeschooling because we have Bible Study at St. Augustine and by the time we get home, the kids are hungry for lunch. By then, any attempts to do anything remotely like school will be more of a battle than they are worth. So, despite having been ahead of the game and well organized, I had to move my entire schedule around because I had forgotten (!) bible study. School hasn't begun and already a crisis and drama!

To top it off, I then cleared my schedule on Thursdays only to completely space bible study again by scheduling a field trip for our homeschool group on, you guessed it, a THURSDAY!! I looked at my calendar and saw that Thursdays looked like a good day to plan a field trip because they were completely clear and so I inserted a field trip. UGH!!! My eyesight is going and obviously so is my mind.

Old grey mare...

But, I got the homeschool "area" arranged and stocked. Five years ago, when I was pregnant with my son and we knew we would homeschool, we planned a school room in the basement. Well, the best laid plans and here I'm relegated to a corner in our upstairs because the basement still isn't finished. Much of the house still isn't finished! The table is one I had when I was a child...although we had to prop it up on the garish white blocks because my son is too tall for it.

Anyway, if things go according to plan, even remotely, here's the curriculum I've planned for my son...and me.

Phonics - Explode the Code, Bob Books and other good beginner books
Math - Right Start Math
History - Roman Catholic History - Ancient History (aka Connect with History)
Poetry - Selections from The Harp and Laurel Wreath, RL Stevenson, Psalms, etc.
Art/Music - Fine art Fridays where we learn about composers, music, artists and art and do some coloring, art, drawing, etc.

The homeschool group created ID cards this year, which was really nice. I already had planned to make my own with the name of our homeschool so that my son will feel like he's "officially" a student, plus they come in handy for teacher discounts and such.

Our homeschool is called Logan Hill Academy, which is really an acronym for "love of God and neighbor" and it ties into my obsession with genealogy since I have two lines of Logans in my tree. Always multi-tasking :) And, this year, Venerable Solanus Casey is our homeschool patron. Hopefully, under his kind and watchful eye, we will have a successful year -- I'm hoping I don't have to swap Father Solanus for St. Dymphna or even St. Jude.

Lessons learned

The feast of St. Monica is Wednesday. Most people know the story of how St. Monica's perseverance and faith helped to bring about the miraculous conversion of her son, St. Augustine. But, when miracles happen how do you respond?

In today's world, miracles are akin to fantasy and fairy tale, something that possibly happens to others but probably something only experienced by people long ago in bible stories. My generation has witnessed the explosion of science and technology, eclipsing the miraculous and ethereal with the summation of the pragmatic and tangible.

A month or so ago, I shared some of my stories with ladies in my homeschool group, which was very awkward for me. Previously, I had only talked about these things with a very small handful of people. Despite what you see on TV with people proclaiming their experiences from the rooftops, the miracles in my life were incredibly humbling and tend to make me more introspective and private. I am reluctant to share my experiences because I am not able to clearly discern the reasons for my disclosure -- will it give credit where credit is due or does it draw attention to me.

But, like many people who have had profound conversion or reversion experiences, or have been blessed with miracles, there are underlying lessons that these experiences illuminate. It's hard to not sound trite, but I learned God can be trusted and He hears our prayers, even the most silent ones in our heart. I went from knowing about God on a very detached and intellectual level, to knowing Him in a very small way in my heart.

So, despite all the struggles with family and friends, despite my motherly concerns for the souls of my children, I entrust them to God and His saints and know He is far more capable of dealing with these things than I am. And, I pray St. Monica will intercede for me and help to make me a half-way decent mom, protect my children and family, bring my brother back to the Church, and convert my in-laws.

I guess it was perfect timing that I was in Chicago a week ago and attended Mass at St. John Cantius where they have a group called St. Monica Sodality. The group has a beautiful novena that they say weekly to St. Monica for the conversion and reversion of souls. But, I also like St. Monica for her incredible examples of motherhood and persistence. Check out St. John Cantius website for more information on St. Monica and the novena...along with a slew of other wonderful novenas. Right now the parish is in the midst of the St. Monica Triduum, concluding tomorrow with the Feast of St. Monica.

St. Monica, ora pro nobis.


A Novena to St. Monica

Exemplary Mother of the Great Augustine,
You perserveringly pursued your wayward son
Not with wild threats
But with prayerful cries to heaven.

Intercede for all mothers in our day
So that they may learn
To draw their children to God.

Teach them how to remain
Close to their children,
Even the prodigal sons and daughters
Who have sadly gone astray.

Dear St Monica, troubled wife and mother,
Many sorrows pierced your heart
During your lifetime.
Yet you never despaired or lost faith.
With confidence, persistence and profound faith,
You prayed daily for the conversion
Of your beloved husband, Patricius
And your beloved son, Augustine.

Grant me that same fortitude,
Patience and trust in the Lord.
Intercede for me, dear St. Monica,
That God may favorably hear my plea
For (mention your petition here)

And grant me the grace
To accept his will in all things,
Through Jesus Christ, our Lord,
In the unity of the Holy Spirit,
One God forever and ever. Amen.

25 August 2008

I almost miss Howard

Now that the Olympics are done and I've cleared my computer of the nasty virus, I turned on the TV to find every channel is talking about the Democratic National Convention starting today.

I have an aunt who follows politics religiously, with her Friday nights spent watching the political programs on PBS and Sunday mornings consumed with surfing between the channels and all their political insiders commenting on every little nuance. The threat of seeing James Carville is enough for me to not even risk turning on the TV.

I have cousins who are very politically active, primarily in Democratic politics.

Some relatives even in politics - a shirt tail relation, North Dakota senator Dorgan, along with a Wisconsin State Rep.

For me, I just wanted Good Morning America to quit with the DNC coverage this morning and cut to the chase. I needed to know who the new cast of Dancing with the Stars was going to be!

Kind of slim pickin's this season, but GO ROCCO!!

Let all the news reporters worry about what Michelle Obama is wearing and how the Clintons are gritting their teeth, give me a simple competition without the mud slinging and polls.

Dance first. Think later. It's the natural order. ~Samuel Beckett

20 August 2008

We made it

We survived the trek to Chicago and back with two kids and one mother-in-law!!

Drove into Chicago on Sunday for Mass at St. John Cantius. The church is incredible, more beautiful than I expected! I tried to take some pictures, but it is very dark inside, and there was a baptism taking place, so I got one exterior shot and this interior shot that is just barely visible! Pretty disappointing because the interior reminded me of churches in Italy (the parish roots are Polish) with decoration and ornamentation in every nook and cranny...very, very beautiful. (NB: Revised pic. Thanks Ray for the incredible lightening job!! Between you and Vincenzo, I can really hoke up pics and you guys can work wonders with them!!)

After Mass, we visited with Ma Beck (Cathy) and got to meet Mary, who is even more precious in person. My son, who is not really interested in babies, was quite taken by Mary and kept trying to get her attention and tickle her.

The parish festival was wonderful and the weather was perfect. I just wish my MIL had spent the day with the kids so I could've visited with Ma Beck some instead of being distracted and pulled in several directions at once!

Ironically, while I was at St. John Cantius in Chicago, I received an e-mail asking me to join a novena to St. Monica, mentioning that St. John Cantius "sells some stuff on this novena." Well, that's kind of an understatement as this novena is said regularly by the parish organization, St. Monica Sodality. How cool is that! Guess I'm not the only one who is a fan of St. Monica.

Driving in Chicago was not nearly as bad as I expected, but the roads are atrocious.

Six Flags was fun, but my son who is hardly ever sick, had a cough as soon as we left for Chicago and developed a pretty good fever immediately upon arrival to the park. But, as usual, his fever broke after an hour or so and he was able to enjoy the rest of the day, albeit a bit subdued. And, it was quite hot and lots of sun. I got sun burned on my nose and the kids said I looked like Rudolph. We were at the park all day, leaving shortly before the park closed...way longer than I thought all of us could muster!

Below is a pic of the kids in their regalia. They are wearing their Batman capes and my MIL took them to a shop in the park that had so much Scooby Doo stuff I thought the kids' heads would explode. She told them they could pick one item and my daughter chose this stylish Scooby purse and my son picked the cheapest little Spiderman figure he could find! I think the store made him OD on Scooby...but he loves Spiderman too (notice his Spiderman shirt...the crown is from Vacation Bible School that he had to bring with him).

Next year we are talking about going to the Dells...we'll see if we can recover from this trip first however!

15 August 2008


I haven't always been a practicing Catholic. Yes, I played with fire and was outside the Church for some time, knowing full well the state of my soul, but never doubting the Church. If there was ever a point when I disagreed with the Church, I would've pack my bags and headed for higher ground. Why stay and rabble rouse? I wouldn't join PETA and then try to convert their members by inviting them over for a BBQ.

Which brings me to a friend of ours. His wife is very "civically involved" and would like her husband to be too. She pretty much gave him an ultimatum to join some sort of organization.

He considered the Lions, but couldn't join them because he would have some problems with it conflicting with his being Catholic. I have no idea what problems there are with the Lions, but will take his word for it that membership in the Lions doesn't mix with membership in the Church.

Next up were the Knights of Columbus. Couldn't join them because of another conflict...he's pro-choice.


Then he considered the Masons. But, couldn't join them because of the same problem with the Lions and membership with them being in conflict with the Church.

Ok, let's review. You've placed yourself outside the Church, albeit quietly in your heart, but you don't have a problem with that. The rub is when others might fraternally correct you because of the public scandal you create?

Why is the appearance of membership in the Church more vital than actual communion with It?

14 August 2008

Road trip

Seeing as I successfully survived Vacation Bible School (as one of the moms said, we might not have thrived, but we survived...Amen...Alleluia) we are planning to take the kids to Chicago.


Oh, and my mother-in-law is coming too. Always interesting.

Plans are to meet up with Ma Beck at St. John Cantius (SJC) on Sunday. The parish is having its festival and there is an airshow featuring the BLUE ANGELS in Chicago that we can watch from the church. A polish, a pint and planes...God is good!!

I haven't been to a good airshow since we moved back from Washington.

I think hubby may love planes as much as he loves me. But, then there is the State Fair coming up soon and I love mini-doughnuts as much as I love my hubby, so that evens things out.

On Monday, we are heading to Six Flags just north of Chicago. One day of total chaos. Now that I have hit my mid-life stride, I can't handle rides like I used to. Will have to stick to the kiddie rides with my daughter.

Then home again on Tuesday.

If VBS wasn't enough, I'm the one that drives in our family, so I get to drive from the Twin Cities to Chicago and back. Maybe I will forego the Coke products at SJC and indulge in a beer. Or two. Hubby's family is completely Polish, so we should fit right in. (Actually, they are Germans that settled in modern day Poland and my FIL proudly claims he's 100% German...but I like to tease about the Polish.)

11 August 2008

Sun drenched and baked

The kids' birthday party went well. Sat on the deck by the lake with a wonderful breeze and just the right amount of sun and warmth -- not too hot, not too cold. Kids had a great time and are blowing out the candles on their birthday cake in the above picture (they share the same birthday, two years apart). It's a Scooby Doo cake, since they both love Scooby Doo. This may be the last year I can have just one cake, since my son was already asking for his own. However, it seems he's become wise at the age of five and knew when to cut his losses when I told him I could cut the Scooby Doo cake in half, but his sister would get first picks on what side she wanted.

The kids got lots of nice stuff and even some Star Wars light sabers. Don't know if they revoke your mom license for giving a light saber to a three year old. I think it at least requires some probationary time, possibly counseling.

Then came Vacation Bible School (VBS) this morning. This is the baked part...I'm cooked, well-done, toasted. 25 kids in one small room when it was warm, verging on hot. Thank God and all His Angels and all His saints for the two other saintly mothers and the teen helper because there were some "deer in the headlights" moments.

There were three children with various allergies. Solely by the grace of God, we managed to get through the day without scrambling for epinephrine for one of the children. I can only imagine gritting my teeth and having to jam the EpiPen into the kid's leg. Thank you God, for averting that crisis! Perfect storm for Vacation Bible School teacher break down.

The VBS topic this summer is about St. Catherine Laboure and Guardian Angels. I think my angel and I (and the other moms) will need combat pay for the week. The other VBS teachers were already talking about if it qualified for time off in Purgatory, which I'm sure goes without saying. God sees all...VBS is worth boo-koo points. Who needs to buy indulgences anymore, just teach a week of VBS and you're good to go.

But, Scarlett, tomorrow is another day. I need to actually survive VBS to gain the time off from Purgatory. It will be close.

07 August 2008

A writer of bumper stickers

Since Dale Ahlquist has taken his ball and gone home (or at least to Seattle), I was glad I attended, probably, the last Chesterton Conference at St. Thomas.

After the conference, I did stumble across Pascal's Pensees, which had been mentioned at one of the talks I attended. I found a copy at Half Price Books and it is full of brief little snippits, kind of like 17th century sound bites. Chesterton was this way too and I don't understand why more of his more profound sayings haven't found their way to bumper stickers. Pascal is as equally quotable, although he kind of got lost in the woods of Jansenism and needs to be read knowing that.

Blaise Pascal is well-known to scientists and engineers...or at least they are familiar with his name as a unit of pressure or a programming language. From Wiki: Blaise Pascal (June 19, 1623 – August 19, 1662) was a French mathematician, physicist, and religious philosopher. He was a child prodigy who was educated by his father. Pascal's earliest work was in the natural and applied sciences where he made important contributions to the construction of mechanical calculators, the study of fluids, and clarified the concepts of pressure and vacuum by generalizing the work of Evangelista Torricelli. Pascal also wrote in defense of the scientific method.

His Pensees contains his famous wager, that I previously posted about. Funny how these things keep coming around.

Here are some quotes of Pascal from an on-line source, posted here with PZ Myers in mind, first a bumper sticker version and then a more lengthy point.

Section III: The Necessity of the Wager
225. Atheism shows strength of mind, but only to a certain degree.

Section III: The Necessity of the Wager
194. ... Let them at least learn what is the religion they attack, before attacking it. If this religion boasted of having a clear view of God, and of possessing it open and unveiled, it would be attacking it to say that we see nothing in the world which shows it with this clearness. But since, on the contrary, it says that men are in darkness and estranged from God, that He has hidden Himself from their knowledge, that this is in fact the name which He gives Himself in the Scriptures, Deus absconditus; [Is. 45. 15. "Thou art a God that hidest thyself."] and finally, if it endeavours equally to establish these two things: that God has set up in the Church visible signs to make Himself known to those who should seek Him sincerely, and that He has nevertheless so disguised them that He will only be perceived by those who seek Him with all their heart; what advantage can they obtain, when, in the negligence with which they make profession of being in search of the truth, they cry out that nothing reveals it to them; and since that darkness in which they are, and with which they upbraid the Church, establishes only one of the things which she affirms, without touching the other, and, very far from destroying, proves her doctrine?
In order to attack it, they should have protested that they had made every effort to seek Him everywhere, and even in that which the Church proposes for their instruction, but without satisfaction. If they talked in this manner, they would in truth be attacking one of her pretensions. But I hope here to show that no reasonable person can speak thus, and I venture even to say that no one has ever done so. We know well enough how those who are of this mind behave. They believe they have made great efforts for their instruction when they have spent a few hours in reading some book of Scripture and have questioned some priests on the truths of the faith. After that, they boast of having made vain search in books and among men. But, verily, I will tell them what I have often said, that this negligence is insufferable. We are not here concerned with the trifling interests of some stranger, that we should treat it in this fashion; the matter concerns ourselves and our all.
The immortality of the soul is a matter which is of so great consequence to us and which touches us so profoundly that we must have lost all feeling to be indifferent as to knowing what it is. All our actions and thoughts must take such different courses, according as there are or are not eternal joys to hope for, that it is impossible to take one step with sense and judgment unless we regulate our course by our view of this point which ought to be our ultimate end.
Thus our first interest and our first duty is to enlighten ourselves on this subject, whereon depends all our conduct. Therefore among those who do not believe, I make a vast difference between those who strive with all their power to inform themselves and those who live without troubling or thinking about it.
I can have only compassion for those who sincerely bewail their doubt, who regard it as the greatest of misfortunes, and who, sparing no effort to escape it, make of this inquiry their principal and most serious occupation.
But as for those who pass their life without thinking of this ultimate end of life, and who, for this sole reason that they do not find within themselves the lights which convince them of it, neglect to seek them elsewhere, and to examine thoroughly whether this opinion is one of those which people receive with credulous simplicity, or one of those which, although obscure in themselves, have nevertheless a solid and immovable foundation, I look upon them in a manner quite different.
This carelessness in a matter which concerns themselves, their eternity, their all, moves me more to anger than pity; it astonishes and shocks me; it is to me monstrous. I do not say this out of the pious zeal of a spiritual devotion. I expect, on the contrary, that we ought to have this feeling from principles of human interest and self-love; for this we need only see what the least enlightened persons see.
We do not require great education of the mind to understand that here is no real and lasting satisfaction; that our pleasures are only vanity; that our evils are infinite; and, lastly, that death, which threatens us every moment, must infallibly place us within a few years under the dreadful necessity of being for ever either annihilated or unhappy.
There is nothing more real than this, nothing more terrible. Be we as heroic as we like, that is the end which awaits the world. Let us reflect on this and then say whether it is not beyond doubt that there is no good in this life but in the hope of another; that we are happy only in proportion as we draw near it; and that, as there are no more woes for those who have complete assurance of eternity, so there is no more happiness for those who have no insight into it.
Surely then it is a great evil thus to be in doubt, but it is at least an indispensable duty to seek when we are in such doubt; and thus the doubter who does not seek is altogether completely unhappy and completely wrong. And if besides this he is easy and content, professes to be so, and indeed boasts of it; if it is this state itself which is the subject of his joy and vanity, I have no words to describe so silly a creature...

I didn't post the entire point. For the entire entry go here.

At the cabin this weekend for the kids' birthday party. Then teaching Vacation Bible Study all next week, so posting may be infrequent!

05 August 2008

What to do

I was caught off-guard by the arrival of a pink envelope today.

Having a big, extended family has it pros; today it's a con. The wife of one of my many cousins, one that I'm fairly close to, is doing the Breast Cancer 3-Day Walk. So is another cousin who lives in California, although he hasn't contacted me for money this year...yet.

The letter talks about her mother's battle with breast cancer and how she is now standing up to do something about it. More power to her.

My mother battled for ten long, painful years with this disease. I was young when my mother discovered the cancer and starting college when she lost her battle. Although I had a wonderfully, blessed childhood, it was filled with this monster disease that stomped through our lives and caused me grow up faster than any kid should. Days were spent in doctor's offices, hospitals and clinics. There were surgeries, chemo treatments, radiation treatments, experimental treatments, remission. And then it would start all over again, worse and more virulent.

By the time my mother was finally, definitely terminal, I had confided in my father that I was just so tired of the roller coaster, so tired of the hopes that were dashed and tired of round after round of bad news, that I prayed this was it, that my mother's suffering and our family's would finally, mercifully, be at an end. My strong, protective father looked at me with tears in his eyes, the only time I would ever see them, and was barely able to choke out the words, "I do too, honey."

I think an overwhelming number of families have experiences very similar to this one.

The problem here is the connection between the Susan G. Komen Foundation and the grants it provides to groups like Planned Parenthood, GLBT foundations and fetal stem cell research. The Hadley bloggers did a good job addressing this around Mother's Day this year, and other internet searches will provide more information than I can.

So, I had to write a very uncomfortable letter to my cousin. I was as kind as I could be in my letter because I believe my cousin sincerely wants to make a difference with this disease, who doesn't, but I simply explained I couldn't support such an anti-life organization.

Good luck with the 3-day, my prayers go with you.

04 August 2008


Got to the cabin on Thursday and found someone had broken into our shed. We've had our cabin for about seven years and never had any problems, other than in the winter when brazen ice fishermen cross our land to get to the lake. It wouldn't be so bad if they weren't such animals with complete disregard for personal property rights and the environment, as they don't seem to mind using the outdoors as their personal garbage can or destroying your property. But, I digress.

Pulled into the driveway at the cabin and could see the shed door was open and the kids inflatable pool was half pulled out. The door frame/trim that held the lock was completely ripped off the shed door. Hubby made a bee-line to the shed and did a quick mental inventory. Two gas cans were still there, antique motor of his grandfather's was still there, all the lawn furniture and games were still there. I commented they must've been complete idiot thieves to have broken in and not taken anything. Then I see my cocoa bean mulch pulled across the lawn and the plastic bag ripped to bits. Our dumb thieves didn't want valuables, they smelled what they thought was food. Turns out the bear had been back and thought my mulch was chocolate...since cocoa bean mulch smells just like chocolate! Yikes!!

We then get to the cabin door to find a huge pamphlet from the Jehovah's Witness folks. It's odd to think that the government might not even know our cabin exists in boondocks Wisconsin, but the Witnesses do. Second batch of visitors. They must have us on a schedule, because I posted about them at length at this same time last year.

Underneath the pamphlet from the Witnesses is another note. Seems we were very popular this week. Normally, it is very quiet where we are so it was surprising to suddenly have all this unwanted activity!

This note was from the County Sanitary dude. Forget his actual, "official" title, but it's not one I would want on my resume. A few years ago, the lake had a bad reaction to something. It's a big, long lake, about 2000 acres, but it isn't very deep at all. I think the deepest it gets is LESS than 30 feet. The little lake my aunt's cabin is on gets twice as deep as that. Plus, from what I hear, there are tons of submerged logs at the bottom of the lake, remnants of the logging era.

In a misguided attempt to get to the bottom of what was causing the lake to have a huge algae bloom and goodness knows what else ailed it, the local do-gooders decided the cause of the lake's wretchedness had to be man-made, just like Al Gore and his conclusions about global warming. They proposed that all the owners of homes or cabins on the lake allow the county sanitary dude to inspect their septic systems because this lake problem had to be from old and leaking septic systems (no evidence or research, just their belief). A farmer whose land is close to the lake cannot even keep cows on his land because they were believed to be part of the problem. How this isn't a violation of the farmer's land use rights, I don't know.

These are the same people, in my opinion, who have built the large cabins on the lake and now want to impose huge building restrictions on any future developments. They got theirs, but no one else can. We need rules to protect the lake, we need restrictions, we need lake associations and we need them to tell us what to do.

Anyway, last year we received a letter from a group of the do-gooders asking us to voluntarily allow our septic system to be inspected. They even enclosed a self-addressed stamped envelope to make this intrusion seem less intrusive. Of course, we didn't want to be the only ones to say no and be ostracized, but not being invited to the area picnic was far less concerning to me than allowing these wing nuts to bring about martial law on the lake. We didn't respond.

Later, we received another letter from them, again with a self-addressed stamped envelope, re-asking us to allow the inspection. No way. Even if my septic system had been brand new, I wouldn't have agreed, just the principle of it.

So, reading the letter from the sanitary dude we find he had been by our property and inspected the septic system without our permission, but at the behest of the lake association folks. I don't think he can do that. First the bear, then the Witnesses, now this guy.

The septic system is older than 1968, at least according to his notes, but passed with flying colors. This is good news, but how can someone trespass on your property and look in your septic system? At least the bear had an excuse.