Our New Home on the Lake (Rice Lake)

A quick gallery of our new home. More photos when we finish moving in. And then again in spring. And then again in fall.

My Daughter is Coming to Visit in August!

The last time we saw Rachelle in person was one year ago in August when we visited for a few days. Though Rachelle and Fiona have stayed in touch by phone and e-cards, they are so looking forward to seeing each other in person next month when Rachelle comes to Wisconsin for a visit.

Fiona and I have been talking about what they’ll do.

1. Spend nearly a whole day at the Rice Lake Public Library! Besides books to read and fun computer games to play, they have puzzles, dress up stuff, and a play market.

2. Go to Culver’s for frozen custard. They use Wisconsin dairy. Wonder what the flavor of the day will be when they go…

3. Spend some time at the lake and the park near the lake.

And just have a lot of fun!

Rachelle and Fiona at Rachelle's wedding reception

Taking Care of Mumsie

We call Joel’s mom ‘mumsie’. Actually she called herself that first. Sometimes we refer to her as Grandma Mumsie when talking to Fiona so she knows we’re talking about her paternal grandma and not her maternal grandma.

One of the reasons we chose to settle for a while in Rice Lake, Wisconsin is because this is where Mumsie lives. The only other family she has in the area are three sisters – all older than her and dealing with their own health challenges.

Mumsie is 70-something now and has multiple health challenges. It’s very difficult for her to get around and when she does leave her apartment, she uses her electric wheelchair. She just got a new Hoveround.

Last year when we were just visiting, she ‘drove’ her electric wheelchair to the nearby bookstore. That was a treat!

Mumsie in the bookstore

I’m glad that Joel and I and Fiona can be here to help out as we can. All the rest of Mumsie’s children live in the West – Idaho and California. We finally got her computer power cord and so she can use her email again to stay in touch with them. Yesterday I was able to package up her Tassimo machine and take it to The UPS Store to be returned for repair. It’s those little things that she really needs help with and appreciates.

We spend every Sunday afternoon and evening with her in her air-conditioned apartment. Our little place doesn’t have air conditioning and in this heat it’s nice to be able to enjoy a cool Sunday afternoon there. We always cook dinner and often have dessert. Then we settle in for an evening of cooking shows – Cupcake Wars and The Next Food Network Star. Sometimes we stay late and watch Iron Chef America. Can’t get too much of Alton Brown. :) Once in a while we got mid-week for dinner and if it’s a Wednesday, we watch Restaurant Impossible. Are you getting the feeling we like food?

Periodically Fiona and I try to go mid-week and do little things for Mumsie. It’s nice for her to have one of her grandchildren around and nice for Fiona to have a grandma to spoil her. Mumsie just bought Fiona a new pair of sandals for the summer and a Hello Kitty shirt. We especially enjoy the Tassimo coffee machine Mumsie lets us use – the extra one. She buys the coffee and hot chocolate and we enjoy an easy cup of coffee whenever we like.

We’re going to enjoy taking care of Mumsie while we’re here.

Homeward Bound (On, Wisconsin!)

I love it when I can make a title out of nothing but song titles.

Yes, the rumour is true: we’re moving to Wisconsin. (The reason you haven’t heard the rumour is because I’m starting it now.)

New Jersey is beautifully sunny. The friends we’ve made here are connected at our core.

But we just can’t afford it.

Moving into our own home would cost, between first month’s rent and security deposit (typically a month and a half’s rent) we’d be looking at $3,500 or so to move into a place, not counting utilities, internet, etc.

And then $1,000 minimum a month for a place that was a little too small, or an apartment (hard hard hard for me.)

In Rice Lake, where my Mom lives, we can get a 2 bedroom house, single family dwelling, not condo, duplex, whatever, with a garage and basement, for $525. One month deposit. Some places want a utilities deposit, so it’s about $1,400 total to move in. Yeah, utilities, etc. But internet can wait, ’cause the Rice Lake Library was our hangout for a month at a time when we’ve visited my Mom.

It’s been a wonderful (non)winter in Jersey. Just as when we left Montreal, Albuquerque, Denver, St. Paul, and Vancouver, there are people we’ll love and miss for the rest of our lives.

But it’s time to go.


If you’re between Philly and Madison and could bear 4 overnight guests during the 2nd week of April, please give us a shout.

If you’ve been considering some web work, writing a book, or getting some admin help, and just haven’t gotten around to it, we’ll need to earn about $1,000 in the next 3 weeks to make this trip and land on our feet without excess stress. Again, give us a shout.

And if you’re in Rice Lake and have a spare bed, book case, or chair you’d be willing to let us have or use, um, yeah, that; give us a shout.

Bridge Out on Memory Lane

In the movies, when the long-lost father/mother/brother/sister/whatever crosses paths with their kin, directors show us the visceral connection. Look in their eyes; they know something just happened. Nice for story lines, but no connection to reality.

Grandma Mumsie and Fiona in Rice Lake Wisconsin

Our visit here in Rice Lake is about to come to an end. Sunday morning we leave for St. Paul for our 3-week house sitting job. Fiona has enjoyed her visit with her grandma Mumsie, as we call Joel’s mom. She’s also loved coming back to The Rice Lake Public Library. Yesterday she had fun with the American Girls Book club here. She got to make a craft – a glass vase with colored sand glued to the outside. Not we have to find a safe way to transport it without it getting broken.

Last Monday Fiona and I went over to the lake and she got to wade in it quite a bit. Grandma came out in her electric wheelchair and we all stopped for a visit in the local book store. Yes, we’re a family of avid readers!

School has also started for Fiona. She’s now in second grade and the homeschool program through the school district here is great. We have lots of fun school work to keep us busy.

I’m really looking forward to our 3 weeks in St. Paul and then spending the winter back in New Jersey. More on that later…

Tomorrow – Albuquerque Once Again!

It’s our last day in Phoenix this time around. Today Joel will get to play music with Terry and friends coming over to practice. Tomorrow we’ll drive to Sonja’s in Albuquerque and stay two nights with her. Stir fry dinner tomorrow! Then it’s an overnight stop in Colorado Springs with Chris and John and another overnight stop in Nebraska before we land for two days in South Dakota. Then Rice Lake, here we come!

Joel playing
Ever feel like you're going uphill and never getting anywhere?


I just thought everyone might enjoy seeing Joel playing at the children’s playground… :)

The Search for Goat Milk

For years Joel’s chiropractor, Dr. Petrice Foxworthy of Cambridge Chiropractic, said that his hayfever-type allergies were probably aggravated by cow’s milk. About 18 months ago Joel switched to goat’s milk instead and found out Dr. Petrice was correct.

Cutting cow’s milk and other products made from cow’s milk from his diet helped alleviate some of the allergy sypmtoms. Now each morning in his tea he has a bit of goat’s milk. (Yes, we both drink tea the English way – with milk.) If he really wants some cheese, once in a while we’ll splurge and pay extra to get goat cheese. And the all-time favorite ice cream now is Coconut Bliss, Naked Almond Fudge. ┬áIt’s not cheap and so is a special occasional treat.

However, since we arrived in Rice Lake Wisconsin two weeks ago, Joel’s been without goat milk – until late Thursday night.

Working By the Lake

We’re working here at The Rice Lake Public Library while Fiona plays and reads. This morning I took a photo from grandma’s window showing the lump of snow still not completely melted and the lake in the background. It snowed this morning again. Not much. But it’s supposed to be spring!

I forgot to post when we left Colorado that Rita and Carl gave us some Tiramisu they brought from Prague. It was delicious! The rest stop just before we entered Nebraska was cool.

Hopefully the weather will warm up enough in May to walk along the lake and not feel like we’re freezing here in Rice Lake.