How can you be thankful when you feel so very downtrodden?

IRON MOUNTAIN — My husband proposed downtown Chicago, outside the big tree in Millennium Park on a freezing December night. Despite my begging him to not get down on one knee after I realized what was happening (because I hate huge crowds of people and being the center of attention) he did it anyway and I said yes.

Then came the hurricane. The list of what would go wrong in the months to come is only comparable to that of being excruciatingly tired on a Monday morning, picking up your favorite cup of coffee to give you that boost you need, and then spilling it all over your white shirt.

The chaos that ensued was unavoidable, despite the fact that I did everything right. I’m not trying to sound narcissistic. What I mean is I downloaded all the right apps and did everything on the checklists according to the months they were supposed to be done in. I bought the gifts asking your girls to be your bridesmaids. I shopped around for my dress before deciding, did all the tastings, had the beauty trials, did the multiple showers for the multiple families in the multiple cities. I made sure to text, call and FaceTime the appropriate parties after we got engaged before putting it up on social media. I absolutely detest when a really good friend or member of the family doesn’t tell you they’re engaged or pregnant or moving away to the moon and you find out through your strategically planned Facebook scrolls. So like I said, I did everything right, and everything still went wrong.

The list of crazy leading up to the wedding had to be written down so that I wouldn’t forget everything. The invites came with part of them missing, the table numbers were wrong and had to be sent back, the mail messed up the save the dates and scratched the entire photo, my dress was ruined by the seamstress… twice. That’s only naming a few instances.

The week of the wedding, our window props for the seating charts were rerouted to North Carolina and never came; we had to scramble to find someone who could fix my dress for a second time; 12 people told us they were no longer planning on coming, and an additional five wouldn’t show on the actual day; the programs almost weren’t printed in time, my wedding ring was lost in the mail, the salon doing my hair and makeup in Appleton cancelled two days before, and my car broke down.

Then, on the actual day of the wedding, one of the groomsmen realized his vest was the wrong color, and all of the guys had to exchange vests to match, even though it wasn’t the vest they were originally supposed to have. The arbor literally fell over on us while we were taking photos before the ceremony. Lunch was never delivered for the bridal party, because the order had been lost; we completely forgot about the garter and bouquet toss. Honeymoons are much needed and deserved, in my amateur wedding planner opinion.

When we were in Chicago, desperately trying to plan this wedding that seemed doomed, my husband was looking for houses here in the U.P. We had planned on staying in the city for a few years, but while I had career opportunities to climb the ladder there, he really didn’t, and so after we talked it out we decided if the right house came our way, then we would move. So we began our house hunting search.

First, we found one in town that was dirt cheap, for a lot of reasons. It needed a new roof, a new foundation, the bathrooms needed to be gutted and the kitchen was not only atrocious but appliance-less. We, however, had been watching far too much Chip and Joanna Gaines and we thought we’d found our “fixer upper.” Thankfully, we allowed ourselves to be talked out of that home. Then, we looked at another house, with tiny halls and ’80s walls. Another was so Victorian it was too much for even my vintage heart. Thus, I declared, we were looking too hard. We were too “thirsty,” as my students would say, and we needed to just take a break — so we stopped looking — and went back to the idea that we’d stay in Chicago after we got married.

Then it happened. At 3 in the morning, he sent me the link to what would become our home. The next morning, he promptly sent the same link to my mother, who took my grandmother and looked at it that very day. I then went up that weekend, video-chatted my husband the entire home as he had to stay in Chicago, and we fell in love again, only this time it was with an avocado house. We put in an offer, wrote a letter to the then owners, and two days later were informed we’d successfully bought a house.

My grandma often tells me that we were crazy, because we did what most people do in the span of several years in six months. We got engaged, bought a house, moved, and were married all between December and June. Talk about stress. In addition, the career opportunities that I had been looking into here fell through for various reasons. While we both were eventually able to find positions we were happy with, it wasn’t until late summer, and it wasn’t in line with the way things were supposed to go. Despite being newly married with no jobs and brand new bills, we were optimistic. We continued to believe that this was where we were supposed to be.

After we came back from our honeymoon, our basement flooded. Not only did it flood, it flooded right before Labor Day weekend, when we had six family members from out of town coming to visit. Roots had grown into the sewer lines and were completely unavoidable. Then, a couple months later, our fridge went out, and we had to purchase a new one, and just this week, our furnace quit working. I guess this was just my harsh welcome into the world that was home ownership. The optimism I’d felt earlier on had seemingly diminished, and I was bordering on dangerous pessimistic territory.

In my family we have a tradition. Every Thanksgiving, at the end of the meal, we write out what we’re thankful for on the tablecloth. There are years of gratitude immortalized with black marker. My brother once wrote that he was thankful for the couch in the family room, because he was going to need to lie down after that meal. My grandfather, every year without fail, writes that he’s thankful for his beautiful wife. My mother typically writes a novel, I write out bullet points, and some of us even draw pictures.

This week, I was depleted. As the repairman worked on getting the heat to come back on, and in my head I could hear the sound of savings leaving our bank account, all I could do was lie on my bed, stare at the ceiling, and try not to cry. I felt in that moment as if everything that could go wrong was going wrong. I had thought that after we got married, and the engagement was over, things would go back to being normal. Life would level out. I thought to myself that this was the one week out of the year I was supposed to be at my most grateful, and yet, I couldn’t muster the attitude to find joy in between the trials.

Then I thought about our tablecloth. Sometimes it’s hard to feel gratitude for the good things in our life, because the bad can be a forceful cloud. When something goes awry, it’s easy to pile all the negative from months past on top of that instance, because misery loves company. I was hurting, and I felt defeated, but the good in my life still outweighed the bad. I still had amazing family, who I would do anything for. I had a home that while cold, wouldn’t be for long. I had a job, a cat, a yard with snow on it and slippers to die for. I was allowing myself to be brought down, despite all the wonderful aspects of my existence.

The challenge with life is that it’s always going to be challenging, and it’s impossible to be happy all the time. The wonder, however, is that during this week when you’re meant to be your most thankful, you’re forced to think about all the positive. It’s a week that should be mimicked all year long. My engagement was terrible, and parts of the first few months of being back home have been bumpy, but trials develop perseverance. When it rains, it pours, so why not dance in it? Life is too short to stare at the ceiling.


Event of interest:

ManorCare will be hosting their Christmas tree decorating at 2 p.m. Wednesday. They will have carols, cookies, and cocoa. Family and friends are welcome to attend.





Scenes and Sounds, 11:45 a.m. (Monday through Saturday).

Sunday: Scenes and sounds, noon; Uno, 1 p.m.; dunking donuts, 2 p.m.; church, 2:15 p.m.

Monday: Pretty nails, 10 a.m.; resident’s council, 11 a.m.; brouhaha, 1 p.m.; resident birthday, 2 p.m.; ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts, 10 a.m.; reminisce, 1:15 p.m.; Kentucky Derby, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Room visits, 10 a.m.; rosary, 11 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Reading buddy, 10 a.m.; Bible study, 11 a.m.; what’s that word?, 1 p.m.; pokerno, 2 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 11 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m.; Bunko, 1 p.m.; sing along, 2:30 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet and greet, 10:30 a.m.; spinning records, 11 a.m.; scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m.; Daily News, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m. 

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

Room visits, 1 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday.

Sunday: One to one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; Yahtzee, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9-10:30 a.m.; DTE luncheon, noon; room visits, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine Club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Book Club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; musical movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 9 a.m.; animal king, 10 a.m.; monthly birthday party, 2 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1 p.m.; prayer with Doris, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.



Wet Your Whistle, 9:30 a.m. (daily).

Movie, 10:45 a.m. (daily), and 3:15 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Gathering place, 11:40 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 11:40 a.m. and 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Popcorn Day, Fridays weekly.

Protestant Church service, 3 p.m. Sunday.

Exercises, 10 a.m. daily.

Sunday: Just jokes, 10:15 a.m.; morsels and more, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Did you know?, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

Tuesday: Trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Christmas ornament making, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 p.m.; Christmas tree decorating, carols, cookies, and cocoa, 2 p.m.; Flip Five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; charades, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; All About December, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips ‘n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.; gathering place, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; current events, 10:15 a.m.; gathering place, 11:40 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; movie, 3:15 p.m.

Maryhill Manor

Niagara, Wis.

Rosary, 8:30 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Parachute, 1:30 p.m. daily.

Monthly support group for grief and loss, 2 p.m. second Monday of the month.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; bingo, 10:15 a.m.; tee time, golf, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; Deal or No Deal, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Men’s breakfast, 7 a.m.; bingo, 10:15 a.m.; memorial service, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15 p.m.

Wednesday: Bowling, 10:15 a.m.; joker-eno, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; Derby Day, 2 p.m.; Whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Rosary, 9:30 a.m.; Mass and adoration; 10:15 a.m.; trivia and coffee, 1:30 p.m.; parachute; Happy Hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Joker-eno, 10:15 a.m.; parachute, 1:30 p.m.; pamper and polish coffee social, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor, Alzheimer’s Unit

Niagara, Wis.

Grooming, 8 a.m. daily.

Lunch, 11 a.m. daily.

Bread making, 12 p.m. daily.

Chicken soup, communication program, 4 p.m. daily.

Dinner, 5 p.m. daily.

Sensory Group, 6 p.m. daily.

Movie, 6:30 p.m. daily.

Sunday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; bowling, 1 p.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.

Monday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; Animal Kingdom, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; kick ball, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; table ball, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; creative art, 2 p.m.; balloon ball, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; through the years, 1 p.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; golf, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; men’s group, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; spelling bee, 9:45 a.m.; coloring, 10:15 a.m.; old TV shows, 12:15 p.m.; creative art, 1 p.m.; happy hour/music and memory, 2 p.m.; kick ball, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-a-long, 12:15 p.m.; foot soaks, 1 p.m.; bowling, 2 p.m.; parachute, 3:30 p.m.

Victorian Pines

Iron Mountain

Exercise, 11 a.m. Monday through Friday.

Juice pass, 10 a.m. daily.

Shopping days: Tuesdays and Fridays at 10 a.m., must sign up.

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.; Packers vs. Steelers, 7:30 p.m.

Monday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Craft class, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Left center right, 2 p.m.; rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Laura’s birthday; movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; poker dice, 2 p.m.; Packers vs. Steelers, 7:30 p.m.

Monday: Chair exercises, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Balloon badminton, 10 a.m.; entertainment by Valri, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Farkle dice, 10 a.m.; shopping trip to Walmart, 1 p.m.; brain puzzles, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.; music by Jason, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: Lutheran service, 10 a.m.; pretty nails and manicures, 2 p.m.; comedy hour, 3 p.m.

Friday : Catholic communion service, 10 a.m.; rosary, 10 a.m.; music by Crystal Hogan, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Farkle dice game, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


For Friday and Saturday schedules, contact the home.

Life connections, 9:45 a.m. every Monday.

Busy bee, 12:30 p.m. Monday through Friday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; shopping outing, 10 a.m.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; hangman, 2 p.m.

Monday: One-to-one visits, 10 a.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; rosary, 2:30 p.m.; Plinko, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Movie, 10 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Casino outing, 10 a.m.; reminisce, 2 p.m.; rummy, 3:45 p.m.

Thursday: Volleyball, 10 a.m.; aroma therapy, 10:15 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; one-to-one visits, 6 p.m.

Victorian Heights

Crystal Falls


Activities director is out on leave. Call the home for additional information.


Note: All centers ask for 24-hour advanced reservations for lunch. If you have meals delivered and will not be home, notify the center.

Alpha-Mastodon Center


Meal at noon every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday.

Amasa Center


Open Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

Lunch at noon.

Bingo on Tuesdays.

Free meal drawing on Thursdays.

Breen Center


Meals: Monday through Friday.

Cards and games available 9 a.m. to noon and 1 to 2 p.m.

Hostess on duty Monday through Friday.  

Treats and coffee, 8:30 to 11:30 a.m.

Center retail store is open 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Monday through Friday; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner served at 5 p.m. Donations are $4 for those 60 and older and $5 for 60 and younger.

Blood pressure and blood sugar testing every fourth Wednesday.

Crystal Falls Center

Head Cook, Tracy West


Meals will be served on Mondays, Tuesdays, and Wednesdays at 5 p.m., with the salad bar opening at 4:30 p.m. The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and older and $6 for those younger than 60. Take-out containers cost $1. All persons are invited. 

Cribbage will be played on Wednesdays at 1 p.m. and be concluded in time for the dinner.

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday. 

A site council meeting takes place on the third Wednesday at 3 p.m. 

Blood pressure taken by request anytime the center is open.

Monday: Soup, salad, homemade gnocchi, baked chicken, corn, homemade dessert

Tuesday: Soup, salad, homemade pasties, homemade dessert

Wednesday: Soup, salad, Lucy’s special chicken, homemade dessert

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on the weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; majong in dining hall, noon; Les Artistes Art Club, noon; Bridge Club, 12:15 p.m.

Tuesday and Thursday: Pinochle, 12:30 p.m.

Tuesday, Thursday and Friday: Billiards, 9:30 a.m.

Wednesday: Spinning Spools Quilters Guild, 1 p.m., with crafters, scrap bookers, etc. also welcome; Knitting and crocheting class, 1 to 3 p.m.

Friday: Smear, 12:30 p.m.

Last Saturday of the month: Music Jam, starting at 1 p.m. Admission is free.

Dances are on the second and fourth Fridays of the month from 7 to 10 p.m. Admission is $6 and coffee is free.

The Photo Club meets on the first Tuesday of the month from 1 to 3 p.m.

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. They have a salad bar beginning at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors 60 and older but not required.

Home-delivered meals for those 60 and older can be delivered seven days a week. Suggested donation is $4 per meal. For more information, call Chris Tramotin at 906-774-2256, ext. 235.            

Transportation is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call the center to book a ride.

Felch Center


Meals served Monday through Wednesday at 11:30 a.m.

Bingo on the first and third Wednesday of each month after lunch.

Congregate jigsaw puzzle done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Lori Friberg

Three senior dining locations are listed below:

Fence Center/Town Hall


Meal at noon Wednesdays only. Reservations are requested. Cribbage and cards are available.

Florence Community Center/Town Hall


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Friday. 

Jigsaw puzzles, cards, cribbage, and board games are available. The coffee is always on.

Hillcrest Senior Dining Center, Aurora


Meal is served at 11:30 a.m. Monday through Thursday. Jigsaw puzzles, cribbage, cards and board games are available. The coffee is always on.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


Meal is Monday through Friday at noon. Suggested donation is $3 for those 60 and older and $7 for those younger than 60.

Morning coffee is available each day

Fifteen games of “fun bingo” are played each Tuesday and Friday, along with 50/50.

Tuesday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Cards played in the afternoon. Call ahead to see if a game will be going on.

Friday: Bingo, 12:45 p.m.

Monday through Friday: Walking in the gym from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill is also available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


Meals served Monday through Thursday from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m.; $4 donation is encouraged for those older than 60 and $5 is required if younger.

Salad bar with Thursday meal, 4 p.m. and dinner at 4:30 p.m.

DICSA operates all meals and transportation out of the Iron River Center. Rides are $2.50 for those 60 and older and $3 for younger than 60. Call 906-265-6134 to schedule a ride

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, meal site Manager


Jill Anderson,

Senior center director

715-251- 4154

Noon Meals served Monday through Thursday

Transportation to the meal site from the Niagara area is offered.

We welcome any senior groups who would like to use our meal site as their meeting place; join us for lunch and then stay to have your meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles, board games available to play for your enjoyment

LRC tournament Thursday.

Other activities are in the works; your suggestions are always welcome.

If you have not been to the meal site/ senior center, give it a try. If you haven’t been here in awhile, come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon with salad bar. Soup is also available on Tuesdays and Thursdays at 11 a.m. Meal donation is $5.

Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily.

Two special theme noon meals each month with bingo, prizes, and 50/50.

Two evening meals, 5 p.m. on the first Monday and third Wednesday of the month, with bingo, prizes and 50/50.

The center is selling tickets for its holiday drawing, featuring a painted sled and ice skates by Barb Grenier; six tickets for $5 or $1 each.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes Wednesdays.

Puzzles always worked on.

Senior coloring class meets daily. All are welcome. Some materials will be provided.

Telephone reassurance is available. If you are a senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone contact, the center will have someone check in to see that all is well.

Note: A CSFP food card (green card) is available to income-eligible seniors. Make an appointment to get signed up. File of Life packets available at the center.

Note: Ask about the Medicare Savings Program. This program helps people pay their Medicare part B premium. You may be eligible. Your local MMAP Counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

Center membership cards are available for $5 at the front desk.

Sagola Center


Meals: Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday, 11:45 a.m.

Cards: Tuesday and Wednesday and Thursday.

Commodities every other month and quarterly commodities are every three months.

Puzzle table for all to enjoy.