A life transformed is a life worth living

IRON MOUNTAIN — Change has always been a concept that many people aren’t comfortable with. It’s defined as either making or becoming something different, but I’ve always looked at is as more of a disruption of the norm, or at least, what is considered to be the norm.

Retrospectively speaking, normal is nothing that can really be achieved, because it is defined differently by each person. After all, what is normal to the spider is chaos to the fly, but nevertheless, a disruption is what I associate “change” to be.

Our family is a family of many traditions. When my husband first got to know our family, he thought I was joking when I told him we had many “rituals” that must be followed, until he became more fully immersed and realized the extreme lengths our traditions go to. Our traditions span all seasons, multiple states, and have now crossed over into other family members lives. In the fall, we take a trip to the Copper Country, and when we do, we have to listen to the same instrumental CD on our drive up, only now we don’t all fit into one car, so we have to “share” the CD, so that everyone gets to have it for a couple hours.

While we’re there, we also take a hike, and on that hike, we require trail mix made by my mom, even though we never really eat it. When we get our Christmas tree, we again have a specific CD that we have to listen to, and after we’ve found the winner, we all sip hot chocolate that was brought along in my dad’s trusty thermos and munch on windmill cookies that were brought from home. On the night that we decorate our tree, my father makes everyone sandwiches, and we watch “Home Alone.”

On Christmas Eve, our entire extended family comes to my parents’ house and we have a waffle dinner, followed by the singing of the “Twelve Days of Christmas” which is then followed by the opening of stockings. On Christmas morning, the presents that are from “Santa” are never wrapped. Over the summer months, we always take one trip to Mackinac Island as a family, and no matter what the weekend entails, we buy pizza and eat it in the park as we play catch or frisbee. When we were kids, and my mom used to take us to Cowboy Lake to swim, turkey bagel sandwiches from the bagel shop were a requirement.

During football season, our traditions translate to more of superstitions, but equally the same, they are followed to the letter. My brother has a specific outfit that he wears every Sunday, we only cook certain foods, and last year, no one other than the immediate family was allowed to come over during game time because my brother had decided that if they did, we would lose. Any time we leave the U.P. and travel into Wisconsin or below the bridge (gasp), upon our arrival back into familiar territory, my father always rolls down the car windows to let the “pure air” back in. This is a ritual that my father-in-law and his wife now follow as well. While these are only examples of a few of our many customs, the others hold the same value. Over the years amendments have been suggested to the practices, for example we used to watch “Prancer” the night we decorated the tree, but our mom can no longer force the misery upon us, but the traditions themselves have never been fully altered.

My husband and I recently celebrated being married 10 months, and we remarked on the fact that it seems crazy that a year has nearly passed since our nuptials, but reminiscing on the day made us both think back to the events that transpired nearly 12 months ago. The day of our wedding was supposed to be smooth as ice. We had planned and prepared to an extent that nearly promised relief, and yet, things still managed to go awry. Because my hair and makeup appointments were cancelled two days prior to the big day, on the actual big day I had a slight panic attack, which my mother coaxed me out of. As the groomsmen were all putting on their attire, one looked down at his vest, then back up at his fellow comrades’ attire and said, “We have a problem,” as the store had sent him the wrong color. Unbeknownst to me at the time, the groomsmen and our cousins were frantically searching the nearest David’s Bridal for a grouping of vests that were all the same color and in all the necessary sizes, and thus the shade of my bridal party’s clothes had to be switched at the last minute.

The lunch that my mother had ordered weeks before had somehow been lost in translation, and never arrived. While Rob and I took photos before the ceremony, our beautiful arbor made of hanging flowers fell on top of us after a gust of wind swept it off its feet, and as the entire bridal party took photos, Rob’s cousin and groomsman passed out from the heat, lack of food, and lack of sleep from the previous evenings festivities. Needless to say, despite our flawless planning and supposed preparedness, our wedding day went anything but smoothly.

When I was teaching in Chicago, I used to dedicate an entire month’s lessons to the idea that young people could change the world. We would identify stereotypes placed on us by society and then formulate ideas on how to break those ideas. We listened to spoken words and real-life stories of teens who had broken the proverbial glass ceiling and made a difference. During that week, no matter what grade level, we read a poem that was inspired by Jack Kerouac and interpreted by Steve Jobs that said, “Here’s to the crazy ones. The misfits. The rebels. The troublemakers. The round pegs in the square holes. The ones who see things differently. They’re not fond of rules, and they have no respect for the status quo. You can quote them; disagree with them; glorify or vilify them, but the only thing you can’t do is ignore them, because they change things. They push the human race forward, and while some may see them as the crazy ones, we see genius, because the people who are crazy enough to think they can change the world are the ones who do.” The quote was used during a campaign slogan by Apple that encouraged people to “think different” and “think for themselves”, a concept I fully encouraged in our classroom.

More often times than not, the world views change as a negative concept. It’s the same with my family and traditions. We have our traditions, and we’ll be damned if anyone on the outside tries to change them. On my wedding day, the changes that took place were completely out of my control and were unwelcome to say the least. Had I had a hand in any of the “changes” that took place, naturally I would’ve chosen to keep my original plans in check if only for sanity’s sake, but the adjustments were inevitable. As I had always defined it, change was a disruption to my norm. Change, however, is not that black and white.

In Chicago, I asked my kids to bring forth change. I yearned to make myself the change I wanted to see in the world, so that my students could carry out their true potential. I fought for change in the workplace and for change regarding how the world viewed my South Side high schoolers. Together we created a classroom environment that welcomed disillusion and relished adaptation. Change is never easy, but there’s also a reason that when we get so overwhelmed by life, we often utter the phrase, “I just need a change.” Change is a disruption, but is disruption always a bad thing?

Look back on your life, and love the things that have stayed the same, but marvel at the things that haven’t. Bask in the glory that is tradition and stand tall in the practice of breaking the mold. My family is growing and evolving, as we’re not all little kids anymore; we all have far more opinions than we used to, and so even some of our traditions have undergone construction. The changes that occurred the day of our wedding were harsh, but they only made us stronger, and in the end, I honestly liked the vests we were forced to use better than the ones I’d originally picked out. As Socrates has said, the “secret of change is to focus all of your energy not on fighting the old, but on building the new.” All great changes are preceded by chaos, and a comfort zone is a good enough place, but nothing ever grows there. Stand firm in your beliefs, but welcome the change that life has to offer, because a “self that goes on changing, is a self that goes on living.” – Virginia Woolf





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 Council, 11 a.m.; brouhaha, 1 p.m.; resident birthday party, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Crochet and craft, 10 a.m.; MayPole, 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.; pokereno, 2 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 11 a.m.; bunco, 1:15 p.m.; sing-a-long, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 3 p.m.

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

Iron County Medical Facility

Crystal Falls

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

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

Sunday: One-to-one church visitors, 8:30; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; reminisce, 10 a.m.; bingorama, 3 p.m.; Hallelujah Hands, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Room visits, 9 a.m.; book club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; wildlife film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; Western movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; high rollers, 10 a.m.; spelling bee, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Puzzler, 9:30 a.m.; bowling, 10 a.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; St. Mark’s, 2 p.m.; happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; Dollar Tree outing, noon; volleyball, 2 p.m.; Activity Council, 3 p.m.; comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; hangman, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; intergenerational social hour, 2 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.

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.; Protestant church, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Who am I?, 10:15 a.m.; Wheel of Fortune, 2 p.m.; movie and a manicure, 5:45 p.m.

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; pie social, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Crosswords, 10:15 a.m.; Good Neighbor bingo, 2 p.m.; Randy’s Magic Moments, 5:45 p.m.

Friday: All about May, 10:15 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 2 p.m.; chips n’ chatter, 2:30 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 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.; music bingo, 10:15 a.m.; Penny Ante, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Shopping outing, 9:30 a.m.; creative art, 10:15 a.m.; line dancers, 1 p.m.; trivia, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; Hallelujah Hands puppet show, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Penny Ante, 10:15 a.m.; crafts with Cathy, 2 p.m.; Bible stories, 3 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; Deal or No Deal, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Rosary, 9:30 a.m.; Mass and Adoration, 10 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; coffee social, 2 p.m.

Maryhill Manor, Alzheimer’s Unit

Niagara, Wis.

Bread making, noon daily.

Chicken soup, communication program, 4 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.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Play dough molds, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; table ball, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 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.; kickball, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Table ball, 9 a.m.; puzzles, 9:45 a.m.; Bible stories, 10:15 a.m.; sing-along, 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.

Coffee clutch, 9:30 a.m. daily

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

Sunday: Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Left, center, right, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Wednesday: Golden Throats entertain, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.

Thursday: Music with Jim Edberg 2 p.m.; Rosary, 3 p.m.

Friday: Bingo, 2 p.m.; refreshments, 3 p.m.; dinner out, 4:30 p.m.

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Hallelujah Hands puppet show, 10 a.m.; bingo, 2 p.m.

Monday: Chair exercises, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.; Family Feud, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Mad Libs, 10 a.m.; May Day baskets, 2 p.m.; one on one time, 3:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Balloon volleyball, 10 a.m.; Yahtzee, 2 p.m.; room visits, 3:30 p.m.; music and movement, 6:30 p.m.

Thursday: Lutheran service, 10 a.m.; manicures and massages, 2 p.m.; comedy hour, 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion service, 10 a.m.; shopping outing, 1 p.m.; Farkle dice, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3:30 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; matinee movie with popcorn, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


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

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

Rosary 2:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; trivia, 10 a.m.; reminiscing, 2 p.m.; hangman, 2 p.m.

Monday: Song service, 1:30 p.m.; sensory, 3:30 p.m.; one to one visits, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Movie, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; social circle, 3:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Spa treatments, 10 a.m.; gardening, 2 p.m.; reminiscing, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Exercise, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; cards, 3:30 p.m.; reminiscing, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; bunco, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10 a.m.; beach ball toss, 10 a.m.; bunco, 2 p.m.; trivia, 3 p.m.

Victorian Heights

Crystal Falls


*Activities director 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 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.

Pasty sale every third Saturday of the month.

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 on the first and third Thursday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with dinner 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, Lucy Korhonen


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. There is a $1 charge for take-out containers. All are invited.

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

The center is closed Thursday through Sunday.

Monday: Soup, salad, pizza party, and homemade dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, pork roast, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and homemade dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, fried chicken, twice baked potatoes, veggies, and homemade dessert.

A blood pressure reading can be taken by request at any time while the center is open.

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on weekends.

Monday: Woodcarvers, 10 a.m.; mahjong 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., crafters, scrap bookers and others 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 take place from 7 to 10 p.m. on the second and fourth Fridays of the month. Admission is $6; coffee is free.

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

Evening meals are usually on the second and fourth Tuesday of the month. Salad bar opens at 4 p.m., with the meal served at 4:30 p.m..

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

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

Felch Center


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

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

A congregate jigsaw puzzle is done daily.

Aging and Disability Resource Center of Florence County


Director: Tiffany White

Suggested donation for seniors older than 60 is $4 per meal. Residents younger than 60 must pay $7. Reservations and cancellations needed 48 hours in advance.

The ADRC can assist area seniors and those with disabilities with transportation Monday through Friday. Transportation reservation should be made with meal reservation.

Four 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 as well.

Senior Dining Center-NWTC, Aurora


Serving lunch at 11:30 am, Monday through Thursday

Tipler Town Hall


Serving lunch at noon on the second Thursday of the month.

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 as well.

Hermansville Center

Coordinator: Pam Haluska


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

Morning coffee is available daily.

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

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, 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. A treadmill also is available.

Friendly interaction with other crafters.

Iron River Center


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

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

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

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe and Center

Corrie Maule, Meal site manager, 715-251-1603

Jill Anderson, senior center director, 715-251- 4154

Noon meals served Monday through Thursday.

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

They welcome any senior groups that would like to use the meal site as a meeting place — join them for lunch and then stay for a meeting or social time.

Wii games, cards, puzzles and board games are available to play.

Other activities are in the works — suggestions are always welcome.

Those who have not been at the meal site/senior center are invited to give it a try. Those who haven’t been here in a while are encouraged to come back.

Norway Center

Director: Susie Slining


Monday through Thursday: Meals served at noon, with salad bar. Soup also is available at 11 a.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Milk, juice, bread, fruit, tea, and coffee served daily. Meal donation is $5. Reservation for the meal should be made in advance.

Two special-themed meals take place each month, with bingo, prizes and a 50/50 drawing.

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

If Norway-Vulcan are schools are closed due to snow days, so is the senior center. If the schools are on a two-hour delay, the center remains open.

Cards are played daily after the noon meal.

Craft and exercise classes: Mondays and Thursdays.

Ceramic and art classes: Wednesdays.

Puzzles always in the works.

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

Wednesday — Blood pressure clinic, 11 a.m. to noon.

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.

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.

A puzzle table is available to enjoy.