Apples, Undershirts & Crisp Sunshine

October 1, 2015

Well it’s here – October that is! My favorite month of the year! And it has nothing to do with Halloween. In fact, that is my least favorite holiday of the year and it just happens to be in October.

Today in Minnesota is the perfect example of why I love this month. I call it the cool crisp sunshine of this season. Right about now I decide to get out and walk AGAIN so I can enjoy the fallness in the air and on the trees and in the animals. Harvest has started which means the gathering in has begun for all animals both the two-legged and four-legged. Apple orchards are once again drawing record crowds to gather in the Honey Crisps, Haralsons, and the Sweet Tangoes as well as enjoy the corn maze, hayrides and games available.

People also seem to start to gather in. Darkness descends earlier and earlier requiring families to “be” together for a longer period of time each evening. Board games come out, sweaters and sweatshirts, long pants, afghans and slippers – it seems to be a cozying up time.

I always looked forward as a kid to the day that Mom said, “Okay guys, its time to start wearing the undershirts.” Remember, they looked like a muscle shirt but were all white and made of soft cotton. Mine always had a little silky bow in the middle of the front neckline. They hugged your body tight keeping in the warmth. You wore them under your regular clothes hence the name undershirt. I even wore mine under my pajamas at night.

Well enjoy the season my friends and don’t forget to put you undershirt on!!!!!

Apples, Undershirts & Crisp Sunshine

Try This at Home

September 30, 2015

This amazing bulletin board was posted on Facebook yesterday and I reposted it to my timeline. My daughter, Krisi, responded; “ Do you think my own children would think I am goofy if I create a board like this in our house? I LOVE this!!”My answer to her was “You could use post it notes at home!”


Why not teach this at home? If the teacher is caring enough to be using this in the classroom, I say reinforcing it at home makes perfect sense. With the home and the classroom working together, how can our kids fail?  

In my twenty-six years of teaching, I created hundreds of bulletin boards. Not one of them held as valuable a lesson as this one. Even as adults we sometimes need our mindsets changed. Hats off to the clever and creative teacher who put this board together. It wouldn’t hurt to have it posted and used in every home and in every classroom.

Try This at Home

Being Present in the Present

September 29, 2015

Do your days fly by? The older I get the faster they go. I’m not sure I can slow them down nor would I want to. Being busy and involved is when I am the happiest. However, there is something to be said for being present in the present.

There is present as in here, in attendance. And there is present, as in now, a moment of time. Religions from around the world all recommend living in the moment with full awareness – making the most of every day as an opportunity that will not come to us again. The contrasts to being present are living in the past and living in the future. When we live in the past, we hold on to regrets, which leads to guilt and blaming. Living in the future we make assumptions or fantasize about what could happen and become attached to those expected outcomes leading to disappointment. Whether we are consumed with positive or negative projections we are not living in the moment. When you find yourself always wanting to be otherwise or elsewhere, it is time to be present. Contentment is the companion to this practice.

Okay – so how do we do it – how do we get into the present?   When I have my first cup of coffee, water or milk in the morning, I use that as my cue to be here now. Sitting at my computer I gaze out my office windows at the beauty of nature around me I remind myself of the joy of simply being present to my surroundings. Whenever I experience or witness sickness, I vow to appreciate every moment of my life.

Psychology Today writer Michael J. Formica tells us that to be in the present means staying here – right here. He gives us a few simple steps to follow to help us get there:

  1. Take a Breath – and release it slowly through the nose
  2. Think about what you are doing right now – breathing
  3. Be a witness – become aware of what exactly you are doing right now
  4. Let the rest go – what you do not need in that moment don’t take on board
  5. Come back to breath

I guess I can try that a few times a day. How about you?

“Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves – slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. Live the actual moment. Only this moment is life.” ~Thich Nhat Hanh

Being Present in the Present

Diane Fishing – Really?

September 26, 2015

Numbering the days left in our Rainy Lake season for 2015. We are now down to about 3 weeks before time to close up for the winter. Butch says that he almost has all of the summer projects finished so of course it’s time to put the cabin to bed for the winter! Well insulated, new furnace, lots of wood for the fireplace – however the house sits on top of a large granite bolder with the water pipes and the sewer pipes sitting on top of the granite as well – makes it rather hard to have running water and flushing toilets in the winter! So close up we must.

With our Canadian friends here for a visit, we decided to go for a boat ride on this gorgeous fall day and perhaps do a little fishing on the way back. Diane is not a fisher person but I didn’t want to miss the time on the lake. Butch told me to bring a jacket, hat and a book and get in the boat so that is just what I did. You know me, I do everything he says – right!?!?!?!

What a joy to see island after island of majestic pines of growing seemingly right out of the granite with a vivid blue sky for a backdrop. Mixed in with the pines are poplar, white ash, birch and even a few maples which will all be changing color here in a day or so adding to the beauty of the season and the area. Of the four of us in the boat, three were fishing and one was reading a book. Can you guess who was doing the reading? Walleye for dinner, however, sounds delicious.

Diane Fishing – Really?

MPR Visit

September 24, 2015


“Just check in at the desk in the lobby. They will issue you a visitor badge and call me. I’ll come down to get you for the interview,” were my instructions from Lorna Benson of Minnesota Public Radio. Lorna left a voice mail message last week requesting my help in doing a program on peer mentoring with breast cancer patients. Peer mentoring/support is a powerful but often neglected source of expertise for those facing breast cancer. Who better to offer hope and emotional support than someone who has been there and survived? With the radio station actually calling me to request information, perhaps the day has come for this idea to take off and make a difference. I know of several organizations that offer this kind of support program but wouldn’t it be wonderful if every woman diagnosed would be given the opportunity to be paired with a mentor for hands on, face to face, encouragement and hope?

As promised, Lorna met me in the lobby and escorted me to the newsroom and a recording studio where we conversed for nearly an hour. Her experience in interviewing was evident as she led me through a lot of material in the short amount of time we had together. In addition to the peer mentoring material, we also discussed my new book. We made a connection as women often do when discussing breast cancer. Lorna’s eyes teared up at several points in my story. How much of the interview will actually be used in any programming is yet to be seen. I’ll keep you posted in the weeks ahead.MPR Visi

MPR Visit

Pretend School

September 23, 2015

In my adult life, I spent twenty-six years teaching school for real! Ten years with 3rd grade and sixteen years with 1st grade. I wonder how many hours as a child I spent teaching pretend school? My students were anyone that I could hold captive including my younger brother. Most of the time, however, my learners were stuffed as in stuffed animals or dolls. I remember using the Reader’s Digest magazines as my textbooks as they were the perfect size. I had a folding chalkboard that continually pinched my fingers when I would try to move it.

My daughter played school as a child using stuffed animals and dolls as her students as well. And now my granddaughter plays pretend school when she gets off of the bus and yes, stuffed animals and dolls sit quietly in their squares on the carpet waiting for their assignments. No Reader’s Digests for her students. They use my library of children’s books for reading and story time. She has a whiteboard and markers, pointers, good notes, stickers and incentive charts, flashcards, math workbooks, games and charts. Sometimes her little brother even gets corralled into playing along with her. He doesn’t last very long before he insists on recess! Papa and Daddy’s new shop has a pretend schoolroom complete with desks for the teacher and the students. Pretend school goes on there in the shop summer, fall, winter and spring.

It is a special joy for me to watch this pretend school happening. Her teaching methods mirror the particular teacher she has during the present school year. Interesting to see it change as her teacher’s change. What a special privilege for me to be able to peek into the pretend classroom. I sometimes even get to be a student – of course I’m a problem child!

Pretend School

Flash of Fame

September 22, 2015

The sky belied the fact that it was getting close to noon. A light mist was falling adding to the gloom of the day. In the distance, a horn blew sounding as if a steamship was approaching on the river from the north. I ran out on the deck with my camera hoping to snap a picture of the barge transporting the cement bridge sections for the new Stillwater crossing.

As the boat came into view, it was neither a steamship or the barge but the Grand Duchess of the Hudson Afton Cruise Line. The party on board was well underway with guests inside and out enjoying the ride in spite of the falling mist. Several guests on the top deck began waving and shouting as they cruised in front of our home. The captain blew the horn again when he saw my cleaning ladies and myself on the deck of our home waving back to his guests.

I was at a loss as to why we were getting the celebrity treatment from the boat crew and passengers. Was it the rain? The wine? What? The top deck group continued their commotion and one voice rose above the din, “Hi there, Mrs. Hubbard!” So that was it! They had the wrong house!!!!!!

Flash of Fame

More on Friendship

September 21, 2015

It was Thursday afternoon last week at the cabin when Butch’s cell phone rang. He talked for a bit and then handed the phone to me. I don’t usually get calls on his cell phone so my level of concern was high. Our friend’s voice revealed that something was very wrong and as I listened, he told me that his wife had just been diagnosed with breast cancer.

Since my own breast cancer journey in 2004, I’ve been on the receiving end of many calls asking for my help in supporting women as they begin their own breast cancer journey.   These calls are the most difficult when they come from close friends – difficult in the sense that it is hard watching anyone facing a cancer diagnosis and even more so when it is someone you know well and love. I’m grateful that I can be there to offer whatever support, care, encouragement and hope that I am able to give.

Six couples make up a circle of friends in which we share a number of interests including flying, cabins, and travel. Of this group, three of the six women now also share in having breast cancer. The call on Thursday was the third member of the group. Statistics say that one woman in eight will be diagnosed with breast cancer in their lifetime. In this group of friends, it is one out of two.

This particular couple is nearly twenty years younger than Butch and I and yet we seem to share a special bond. The opening and closing of our cabin has for years been a project that they like to help us with. We appreciate their extra hands, backs and feet getting that job done each year. I’m pleased to be able to reciprocate with them in giving my support and encouragement as best I can. Butch will be able to offer his care and listening ear to the husband as well.

More on Friendship


September 20, 2015

Why is it that some people in your life are good friends and remain good friends even when you are separated by time and distance? When you meet up with them again, you just pick up right where you left off the last time and when they leave you feel genuinely sad that you will not see them again for a while. Some friendships are perhaps just that deep.

It is doubly amazing when that friendship extends and includes spouses resulting in four people enjoying that kind of affinity with each other. Comfort, peace, joy, understanding, camaraderie are all words that exemplify that kind of a bond or relationship. Friendships of that degree demand to be celebrated and enjoyed.

I’ve been thinking about those kinds of bonds today, both old and new, and delighting in their existence. Relationships are one of the most important elements in our lives. Interacting with others makes our highs more enjoyable and our lows more bearable.


First Fire of the Season

September 17, 2015

A warm sweatshirt, football on TV, a big bowl of popcorn and the first fire of the season in the fireplace. Who could ask for more? This morning was a little hot and sticky but as the day progressed, the temperature went down as well as the windows. A little taste of fall in the year and it feels wonderful! I know I probably won’t feel that way come January but for now I’ll take it!

Fall is always a feeling of gathering in, coming back together after a summer of going here and there and everywhere. School starts and schedules change. The days get shorter and cooler. It’s time to get out the long pants and sweaters. As a kid it meant digging out the undershirts. Do kids even wear undershirts anymore? That snug feeling of slipping that soft cotton shirt over your head to hug your middle and keep out the drafts of the changing season was the signal of the changes ahead much as today’s first fire of the season. Good bye humidity – hello fall!Firs

First Fire of the Season