Friday, May 25, 2018

Spring Awakening, Beyond Reconcilliation

This was originally posted in August of 2010.  10 years ago.  I've made progress since then, so it's entirely appropriate to revisit this passage.  This has become of one the stories of my life that grows sweeter each season.  From apple juice to sparkling cider!

[Revisiting] Spring Awakening & Reconciliation

[Image by Debbie Fischer from here. Used by permission with my gratitude.]

"Every now and again the compressing folds of time touch and prompt a memory sparkle, sometimes inducing sadness, and sometimes a private smile that carries [me] for a moment before disappearing again ..." --Fish (the Rockstar)

Do you remember Tony Moore? [No, not that Tony Moore ...] He was that set designer/theatre guy I fell for in college at UW-River Falls in 1989. It was a beautiful, gorgeous pink and sparkly Spring that I don't ever want to forget. I was so young, just 18 years old. He was a student of 26. We got to know each other in 40+ hours in the scene shop, building the set for A Day in the Death of Joe Egg. On the night of strike, after the last show, when everyone else had gone, we said our reluctant goodbyes, and he kissed me. I was in 7th heaven! In May, 2 weeks later, we stood under these exploding pink crab apple trees while the sun went down, and the moon and stars came up. [Talk about a magical set!]   More kissing.  Then we talked about our futures--apart. He was encouraging and supportive and tried to be kind ... He broke my heart back then, but I understand why he had to do it : I had things to do, a life to lead, places to see ... and so did he. He gave me my freedom.  He'd cut it off just as it was starting ...

Anyway, he's been in the dog house for the last 20 years of my mind, or pushed down so as not to think about him at all. They say when we fall in love, we fall in love with the way the other person makes us feel. He made me feel like I'd never felt before ... absolutely wonderful, and wanted ...  in love!    Beautiful.   Of course I wanted more--who wouldn't? But I couldn't have more, so I buried it. But those buried pieces kept sending up shoots and runners that would not be ignored ...

About 2 years ago, CL was cutting some fresh lumber in the front yard--the smell of that fresh-cut lumber brought me back to the scene shop at UW-RF, and my lovely spring romance. So I re-read my journals, and realized, yes, that spring was sweet, but there was way more hurt there in the year of separation after. Even just 2 years ago, when I thought of TM, I would argue with him in my head. Knowing that wouldn't go anywhere, I eventually buried it again.

Something shifted this summer. I had a dream about TM, and although I don't remember any real words, the general feeling was Reconciliation. He didn't apologize (and neither did I), but the feeling is very different now. It's hard to explain ... I wonder where he is now? First kiss. If he hadn't been that, I'd probably have forgotten about him.   It was more than just a kiss for me.  That was defining moment / turning point in my life--something I'm sure he didn't realize at the time. Because of all the problems with my jaws in high school, I felt like a freak--The Elephant Woman with people staring at me. Even after the jaw surgery fixed the physical problem, I still had psychological scars. I did not feel beautiful or attractive or desirable--even though looking at pictures from that time, I just looked pretty normal. Tony Moore gave me a glimpse that I was not a freak, though it took many more years for me to really GET it. Tony had a way of just watching me walk across a room with true appreciation and pleasure--not at all leering, or lascivious, nor did he want anything from me. He just enjoyed what he saw in me. I felt beautiful when he looked at me.  That was a precious gift for me, considering where I'd been. I liked his eyes on me; I felt comfortable with him. That was entirely new for me. In 40+ hours in the scene / set shop for Joe Egg, we got to know each other. He was funny, handsome, and talented -- with those Buddy Holly safety specs. He would say hilarious things, and none of the other students would understand he was making a joke.   I laughed--I seemed to "get" him.  All that to say it was a mutual attraction. I liked him too.  And it was more than just physical ...  I know I was able to support and encourage him when he had to give a presentation, or get critiqued on his work.   It was sweet and refreshing and wonderful ...  When our hearts were open, we could "settle" each other down.  We could ground each other, anchor each other ...  and then it went awry.

Now I'm older, I can look back on those situations and yes, I remember my own hurt, but I can better see what the other person was going through, too. Compassion. It was hard for him, too. He liked me, just didn't realize I was so young. He didn't write me at all that summer -- and when we got back to school in the fall, of course I was hurt and angry and still wanted to be with him. He had broken it off just as it was getting started ... but now I remember him coming to the reference desk at the library where I was working when Mike A. (the computer guy) was there. He was talking to Mike, and looking at me the whole time with a pained look on his face. Now, I understand that he just wanted to be near me, but he couldn't approach me alone ... Now I'd probably say, "Let's go for a walk, Ton. Seems like you have something to say ..." At the time, I think I probably escaped to the bathroom. It was just too hard to be that close to him, and not hug him. There were a few other incidents like that with him coming near when it seemed "safe."  And each time, my heart was racing, I couldn't break down the walls I'd built to keep my heart safe.   I didn't understand what was happening then, or how to handle it. I was too hurt and dejected. It was hard for him to turn me away--for my own good. He liked me too. 

I wish we had found a way to enjoy each other AND get our schoolwork done the 2nd year. I wish we'd have been able to get to know each other better ... I really did enjoy his company, his sense of humor, his soft voice--not to mention his good looks. It was more than infatuation for me, or I wouldn't be reflecting on it all these years later. Sigh! But then, as they say, "a kiss is just a kiss."

It's a defining moment for me because I soldiered on and built my life as I wanted, as he ordered me to do back then. I couldn't wait for him. He wouldn't let me do that. He didn't want to hold me back.  Back then, too, I didn't know how to handle the situation. It wasn't so much rejection as redirection. But at the time, it sure felt like rejection. In later years with bad relationships, I learned how to let go and not look back, learned what I wouldn't put up with in a relationship. It worked because I'm not pining away for any of those guys. Tony was special for me. There were some firsts, some really wonderful memories that I don't want to forget. Those are the parts I don't want to let go of. I finally let go of the anger and the hurt ... That feels GREAT! I will savor the sweetness. TM is part of my story. He is written into the threads of my life. I don't have to give that up. ;-)

Thanks for the memories, Ton! I'm glad you were part of it. I hope you are well and that you've found someone to share your heart and life with.

Now, 20 years later, what I really want to do is give him the update on my life, tell him how things have turned out for me so far, and hear his adventures, too. I honestly wish him well. I wish him Love, Abundance, Happiness. All things good.

None of this should matter now that I've got a whole other life with a well-matched husband. I'm happy, and grounded. Except that it DOES matter ... Anyway, I just hope that Mr. Moore feels the shift in energies through the Force (I'm talking Star Wars here, Unseen Forces Network), because I'll likely never get the chance to tell him myself.

A big day for the inner life. 


Epilogue as of May 2018 :
 "Kayleigh Spring"

Now on to my progress in present day.  In April, I took an art quilting class to learn how to take a landscape photo and turn it into fabric art.  The subject I wanted to memorialize was that sparkly, blooming pink apple tree Tony and I stood under that spring evening, discussing our futures.  No photo to work with -- just a memory.

You can read about the actual process of making Kayleigh Spring on my other blog, Sweet Leaf Notebook. 

By the time the class came around in April, I wasn't looking forward to going.  3 days in class an hour's drive round trip from home.   Eeesh!  Turns out, the process of getting this pent-up story out on fabric was a wonderful and transformative experience.  A small class, and a great teacher.  Much of the work I was doing was internal ...  letting go of the story, releasing the hurt of separation, finally forgiving TM for not writing me that summer, forgiving myself for avoiding him the next year and closing my heart.   I thought I was doing what he wanted me to do, for both our sakes.    And still my heart aches for the time wasted, not spent together while we had the chance, living in the same town, attending the same college.  How often do you find someone you connect with so well? Just not ready for each other ... Bad timing.

I am reminded of that quote by Rumi :
“Your task is not to seek for love, but merely to seek and find all the barriers within yourself that you have built against it.” 

I've re-read my journals from that time, talked things out with TM in my head via the door-of-the-heart al la Rumi and dreams, since it's not possible in real life.   That door is open again, and all things are possible.  We have forgiven each other--I can feel it.  Another shift in the cosmos.  Healing.  I hope that he feels it, too.  What a relief!   Why did it have to take 30 years?  For some things, I'm a very slow learner, and stubborn.   I am so glad TM was there to see me "becoming," blossoming that spring.  What a memorable and special gift for both of us.

This is what I looked like at that time in 1988.  
Not a freak of nature / or a monster at all.  This is what TM saw, what I couldn't see until much later.  

I do think that before we're born, when we're still in the Spirit World setting up for our next lifetime, we look at the important points in our lives - birth, family, first friend, first kiss, first love, who we marry -- all those important moments, and we decide who will be there with us, for us.   We plan out moments in our lives, we ask certain people to be there with us.   Sometimes it's just a brief passage and someone comes into our lives only for a moment -- as that exquisite spring with TM at UW-RF 30 years ago.  That memory gets sweeter each season.  The parts are sort of scripted, and sort of not.  More like we know the parts we're supposed to play -- when someone so familiar appears in this dream called life -- a guidepost--someone who knows us, who loves us, who's known us before, who appears and gives us encouragement along the way.  Someone who agrees to help us make wonderful memories.  I have been fortunate to have so many good memories.  Sometimes the partnerships are only "contracted" for a short time -- as with TM.  Sometimes for much  longer as with CL.

It's like when I was planning my life, I said, "Tony" --who I'd known and loved before this lifetime-- "I want you to be there for my first kiss.  I want you to witness my blooming, my becoming -- beautiful.  I know you'll appreciate what you see.  You'll love me and keep me safe and send me on to the rest of my life.  I'll see you again someday ...  I'll make it worth your while with a beautiful set, and encouragement when you need it too.  Will you be there?"  And he said, "Yes, of course.  I wouldn't miss it for the world!"  We played our parts ... and then on to our separate lives, with the memories.

Tremendous gratitude now.  Thank you, Mr. Moore.

Miracle of Miracles : I did not realize how much I was still holding back about this tender and hard passage in my life.  That spring at UW-River Falls, living away from home for the first time, I developed seasonal allergies to trees.   I put it down to living on the edge of the Great Plains, so close to Minnesota -- all that prairie.    I went to UW Health Services, and got the diagnosis of hay fever, and have managed every sneezy, itchy-eyed, runny nosed spring since with Claritin and allergy eye drops --   for the last 30 years.  Until this spring --  I didn't realize that all this time, I was still internalizing that wonderful 1989 spring and the difficult separation that followed.  In my mind and body, I equated that wonderful feeling of being in love with spring, and the separation that followed.  I was literally allergic to spring, allergic to love, allergic to feeling that good--and allergic to not being with the object of my affection.   It's remarkable to me how the body deals with things the mind won't.  All this time, it's been trying to get my attention, to tell me something ...  And now I finally got it!     This spring has been the mildest case of spring allergies I can remember -- all because I've finally dealt with some of this emotional stuff, processed it fully, and let it out.  Put it down in an art quilt -- I don't have to carry it around anymore.  This art piece will hold it for me. 

I know that every decision I've made has brought me here, where I am now -- and it's a good place.  Still, I wish I had done some things had been done with more grace.

To honor the story, I've created a YouTube playlist with songs that help to tell the story :

Just a little something I play when I want to revisit the feelings ...

Coming of Age [Original Poem]

Magic & Memory of a Kayleigh Spring on Sweet Leaf Notebook

Sunday, January 1, 2017

Dr. Nancy Homburg Interview 4-16-2015

I don't often let the streams of my work and home life cross paths, but this Story Corps Interview with Dr. Nancy Homburg is something I am particularly proud of.   ;-)

If you have a little time over the Holidays, I would encourage you to listen to this Story Corps-like interview I did with Dr Nancy Homburg in 2015. This oral history project is one of the fun and rewarding things I get to do in my work as a Medical Librarian. Dr Homburg is one of the most eloquent, passionate, and professional people I've ever met. Treat yourself and listen! It's the first link in the blog post below.

Dr Nancy Homburg Interview 4-16-2015

Dr. Nancy Homburg talks about her career as a Family Practice Physician and how Hospice and Palliative Care came to the Fox Cities of Wisconsin.

In the photo above, Dr. Homburg is strategically standing next to the orange and purple binders for Education for Physicians in End-of-Life Care (EPEC), the program she coordinates in the Fox Valley.

Dr. Homburg's Quotes from the session :
"Dying is about who you are, and who you're connected to, not the disease.  It's about community and relationships."

"All beauty is infinite--and nothing lasts forever."

Dr. Nancy Homburg's Interview at Story Corps (Audio Link)
          AHS-OHP-001  April 16, 2016       (63 min.  14 sec.)
          Interviewed by Michele Matucheski at Mercy Medical Center, Oshkosh, WI.

Field Notes for Dr. Homburg's Interview (doc)

Transcript for Dr Homburg's Story Corps Interview 4-16-2015 (doc)

1979 Parade Article featuring Dr Homburg as "a new breed of women physicians specializing in family practice."

Women Physicians of the Fox Valley 1993  Holiday greeting from 1993 Post Crescent newspaper listing the area Women Physicians that year.

This posting first appeared on The What's New at Ministry Libraries Blog in December 2016.  

Wednesday, December 21, 2016

Goodbye Maggie

On December 2, Maggie, my beloved second-hand Newfie died, after 10 years with us.  She came to us as a rescue who needed some work.  Ok, a lot of work.  I signed up to foster her, and fell in love with this shy and scared-of-everything dog who absolutely blossomed with us.  Yes-- I believed in her early on, and she knew it.  All that time, I thought we were helping her, when in reality, it was a definite Partnership (with a capital P).  I needed her as much as she needed us.  Since she's been gone, I'm remembering how closely my mental health is tied to having a dog to stay grounded.   

I am so grateful for our time together, that she decided to stay with us after being so far down and out, and finally have a normal dog life filled with Love and Joy.  You were meant to be here, Mags.  Thank you for coming into our lives.  And thank you to Joni G. and the Oshkosh Area Humane Society for doing right by her in 2006, knowing she couldn't stay at the Shelter, and placing her with us.  Please consider giving OAHS (or your local Humane Society) a donation this holiday season for the important work they do.

I carry her with me.  I can't touch her anymore, but I can FEEL her again.  So welcome!

Thursday, October 6, 2016

Story Corps : Vicki Moen Remembers Lee Smith and their First Date

On the verge of her moving out to Colorado from nearly 20 years in Wisconsin, Vicki Moen remembers Lee Smith, the Love-of-her-Life, and their first date.  I've heard most of these stories before -- usually in a car on our way to a Ren Faire, or Dickens-of-a-Christmas, or some other fun cultural event filled with music.  Before Vicki left, I wanted to hear some of these stories just one more time.  This is my farewell gift to Vicki.

Who : Vicki Moen remembers Lee Smith
Interviewer : Michele Matucheski
Where : Neenah, WI
When : October 5, 2016

Link to Audio Interview (92 minutes)

Link to interview at Story Corps (92 minutes)

Note : There's about 36 seconds of dead air at the beginning of the recording.  I should have edited that out, but wanted to get these up ASAP.  Skip ahead, or let it run ...

1. Tell me about when you and Lee first met.
      When did you know he was "The One"?
2.  Now tell it from Lee's POV.
3.  I know you had certain dating rules and expectations for the relationship.  What were they?
4.  Tell me about your trip to Texas, where you learned that you could travel together.
5.  Tell me the story of how you got engaged.
6.  Why did you wait so long to get married?
7.   How would you describe Lee to someone who had never met him?
8. What are the most important lessons you learned from Lee?
9.  Tell me about your happiest moments together.

Lee Smith and Vicki Moen at the Bristol Ren Faire.

Saturday, October 1, 2016

Outlander Tour of Scotland 2016 - Falkland

This Missing Poster was in a shop window down a side street in Falkland -- just for the Outlander visitors who would "get it."  Falkland is the little Scottish town where they filmed the scenes of Claire and Frank taking some time off after the war in Inverness -- but because Inverness is now so built up and modern, it's difficult to find a quaint retro place like it used to be.  Enter Falkland.

In July/August of 2016, I took a wonderful Outlander Tour by Visit Scotland, where we visited many sites relative to the novels and the filming of the Starz tv series.   It's a quaint little town, easy to walk around and explore.  Here are some of the sites :

 The Covenanter Hotel in Falkland - used for filming Claire and Frank's getaway reunion, and the town near where Claire disappears.

 Church of Falkland with blue and white skies emplematic of the Scottish flag.

 Scottish Textures - Cobblestones

 A door matt -- Interesting textures for quilting?

 Flowers at Gate in Falkland

 Black Cat in Falkland

 Scottish Textures - Rusty stone

 I thought this sign was amusing.  ;-) 
Wondering of someone picked off that particular "o" on purpose?
 And because I'm a Librarian by trade, I like to visit libraries when I travel.  
Call it a pilgrimage.

 Outside the Falkland Public Library.

 Castle Palace at Falkland - where Mary Queen of Scotts Father died.

 Campbell's shop in downtown Falkland - for Janna

 Entrance for The Covenanter Hotel in Falkland - where Claire and Frank stayed for their getaway.

Another shot of The Covenanter.

Sunday, December 27, 2015

Taco Dip Recipe

Taco Dip

Taco Dip
Ingredients :
8 oz. Cream Cheese
8 oz. Sour Cream
1 pkg Taco Seasoning Mix
   (OR  2 tsp Chili Powder plus 1 tsp garlic powder)
 Blend with a mixer until creamy and smooth. Spread in a pan or platter as the base layer.

1 can refried beans
1 can Herdez Verde (green chili sauce)
Mix these together and spread atop the cream cheese layer.  You won't need the whole batch of beans for the taco dip, so save the rest for dipping chips directly.

Additional layers as desired.  Here are some of our favorites, chopped :

Shredded cheese (as you'd use for tacos)
Black Olives
Red and/or Yellow Peppers
Green Onions

Serve with nachos.

I usually make this for Thanksgiving and Christmas-time feasts as an appetizer.  Time to post the recipe here for easy access.

Saturday, November 7, 2015

Remembering Rosita

November Gratitude Day 3 : Love. My beloved Aunt Rosita is fading away in Hospice as I write this.

She and my mom got me into quilting back in 2004. A few years ago, I made a quilt for my Unca Ray (her husband). It was a Red Barn Quilt--because he grew up on one of those classic Wisconsin Family Farms with a Red Barn. While Auntie has been so sick these past few months, she sort of "took over" that Red Barn Quilt. My mom told me today that very Red Barn Quilt covers her now in Hospice in her final days.  She is wrapped in Love.  If you are a quilter, you know what an incredible honor that is! I can't be there in person, but I am there in spirit.

 Photo from Quilt Camp in 2010.    
Holly Matucheski (Ma), Rosita (in red), me and Carrie Z.

From Quilt Camp 2009.
Rosita, me and Holly (Ma)
Though Rosita and my mom were sisters-in-law, many people thought they were blood sisters, or Mother and daughter.  An honest mistake : See the resemblance?

It was my Birthday.  ;-)

This quilt top was made by my Aunt Rosita in her Quilting Connection class at Cutting Edge Quilt Shop in Antigo, WI. When she showed it to me, I liked it so much that she gave it to me, along with the book. - See more at:
This quilt top was made by Rosita.  She'd taken a class on Twisted Bargello Quilts.  I liked it so much she gave it to me.  I finished the quilting on it and got to keep it.  I brought this quilt to put on display at her funeral.   There were MANY of her quilts there.  Her specialty was machine embroidery.

Here's a link to Rosita's toffee recipe.  She would bring this over on Christmas.  Yum!

Every time I would go home to visit my parents, Ray and Rosita would come for dinner.  I saw them almost every time I went back home.  They sort of took the place of the grandparents in our family after Gramma and Grappa Matucheski died.  They became the kindly, funny, and encouraging elders of the family.

Saturday-After-Thanksgiving in Oshkosh 2012 :

Farewell, Mike

We lost a family friend last weekend.  Mike Clark -- May he rest in peace.

This is from a March day in 2004 at Cherokee Marsh, one of my all-time favorite places in the world.
Mike and Caroline liked it, too.  Mike wanted to go there for his birthday that year.  And we got to go along.

Mike and Caroline were the adults who watched over me when I lived in Madison during my college years and after.  I am still grateful for their friendship, and gentle guidance.  Such kind and interesting people, reading great books, and traveling the world.  And their kids were really interesting people, too!

I met Caroline when I worked at the Cancer Prevention Clinic on the UW campus.  When Dr Love lost interest and moved on to other projects, Caroline told me to go down to the Health Science Library, that they'd give me a job.  They did ...  and every time I needed a job, they hired me in the ILL Dept.  After I got my Masters in Library & Info Studies, they hired me as a professional Librarian.  That's when I got to work with Mike.  He took care of the computers there -- back when Medline was updated with a dozen CD-Roms that had to be installed on a tower.  Mike would load them to a test server, and he wanted me to search on it, try to break it, and figure out if things were working as it should before he made it live.  Although he knew the computer end of it, he wasn't a searcher.   It was the best of both worlds.  I liked working with Mike -- It was a tempo thing.  He was quiet, but content, and a much calmer pace than the usual fray.

Farewell, Mike.

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Rhubarb Crisp

Rhubarb Crisp

5 cups diced Rhubarb
1 cup sugar
3 T. flour

Topping :
1/2 cup oats
1/2 cup brown sugar (or less)
1/4 cup flour
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/4 tsp ginger
1/4 cup butter (aka 1/2 stick)

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F.
Mix together first 3 ingredients and put into a 9-inch pie pan (or other glass baking dish--avoid metal, if possible).

For topping, combine all dry ingredients.  Cut in butter until the mixture is crumbly.  Sprinkle over filling.

Bake at 375 degrees F  for 30-35 minutes, or until rhubarb is tender and topping is golden.

We remember this fondly from our days at Summit Ave. Coop in Madison, WI, where Susan Hollingsworth used to make this delicious treat!

Thursday, March 26, 2015

Crock Pot Cream of Broccoli Soup

I found this recipe here.   It's remarkable how much it comes out looking like the canned soups -- except, I know exactly what's in this soup!  No mystery ingredients.

Prep Time : 10 minutes
Cooking Time : 5-6 hours



  1. In a skillet, heat butter, add onion and simmer about 5 minutes or until soft but not browned.
  2. Stir in flour and seasonings.
  3. Add onion mixture to crock pot and slowly add milk and water, stirring until well blended.
  4. Add broccoli and cook on low until soup reaches desired consistency, approximately 5-6 hours.
  5.  Add the cream in the last 20 minutes
  6. Add additional spices to taste -- ie, thyme, garlic powder, etc.