Monday, October 14, 2002

Weekend visit to Antigo. Stayed with Joe and Peg Jopek, friends of ours on the Ice Age Trail. We took a hike on the Kettlebowl Segment of the trail. This is the first section of the Ice Age Trail Esther and I visited in 1998. Our first attempt to hike the Ice Age Trail we got lost on forest roads and never did find the trail. Today Joe led the group through a clearing at the base of the Kettlebowl Ski Area, which is actually on a moraine. I guess Moraine Ski Area doesn't sound as cool. We did hike to a genuine kettlebowl. A most fantastic kettlebowl it is, very steep, boulder strewn bottom.

Joe's ankle hurt him a great deal on this five mile hike, including gulleys carved by landowners to prevent ATV access to the trail. We stayed with him as he bravely trudged back to the bus in the rain. The next morning he was hobbling, and said that may have been his last hike. I sure hope not. Jopek is a born teacher. I learn something new every hike. Saturday he showed us a reverse treeline, where the cold air collects in kettlebowls and trees cannot grow. Joe also pointed out the possible effects of global warming at a frost pocket full of young alders where once only short grasses grew.

Sunday morning attended the Antigo Community Church. Great to see old friends, and their kids shoot up like weeds. Tom and Sharon Duke had their ninth child a few months ago. "Now we got a baseball team," Sharon said. Mary Wilhelm and her son Matt treated us to McDonalds after church, so my fast food drought is ended. A sinful, rare pleasure. I've been resisting that $1 Big N' Tasty. But with the largest meat recall in US history today, Mickey D's is less and less a temptation.

Friday went on an hour long bike ride out to Machesney Park Mall and back again through the heart of Loves Park. Conducted many interviews and even visited the Rockford Airport at Del Wildes' airbrush artistry hangar. It's for a story for Stateline Business for Deb Jensen Dehart. I wrote two stories (Airship Artistry and Ole Saltys potato chips) last night and one (Wooden-It-Be-Nice) this morning. I would like to research a topic and write a query letter, but don't think I'll have time. This week I move up to the next step. A query letter a day (or five a week) and at least a half hour creative writing. My fiction needs lots and lots of practice. Poetry's fun.

Still learning songs on guitar, including songs by Bowie, The Church, Pearl Jam and Radiohead. I want to memorize the songs in the next week and work them up to a proficiency to impress at open stage nights all over Rockford!! Maybe a band? Keep many irons in the fire, my lad. Music remains a fun diversion. If I ever get good enough I'll make it more than that.

Attended my first aerobic class at the YMCA. Terri, the instructor, is the same from when we took the class a couple years ago. There were a couple familiar participants. Matt or Mike or whatever said he has been attending the 6 a.m. aerobics classes for 15 years. I asked him does it get easier getting up so early? I was able to keep up reasonably well, a couple moves I never quite got right. Esther's an old hat. She catches on to dance moves quick. Her ice skating and dance training come to the fore.

My old college buddy Shawn is coming over for dinner, and Susan Hofer, a friend from high school, will be here too. So I gotta clean the kitchen, pick up my clutter, run a bunch of errands, of course, after I do my half hour of creative writing...

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