Life and love are unpredictable yet so satisfying

IRON MOUNTAIN — It’s been said that you can always tell who a writer is because they’re never quite in reality, because their mind is creating another. Ever since I can remember, I’ve perpetually made stories up in my head. No matter the moment, my mind is often speaking its own dialogue from characters that I’ve only recently created.

Growing up, I used to hold “conversations” between myself and another in front of the mirror while I was getting ready for the day; if I was in Chicago and I would use the restroom in a restaurant, I would create a dialogue in my mind pretending I’d run into someone famous. When I would shower I would pretend that I was on a famous talk show discussing my latest book or newest invention, and I’d always be “sitting” across from Ellen or Oprah. My dad told me once that sometimes he’d stand outside my bathroom in the mornings because he could hear me talking to myself and it made him smile. All this time I thought I was alone. So, call me crazy, but my mind simply never stops running.

More often than not, I would imagine all the possibilities of where my life could take me. When I was little, if there was someone I had a crush on, suddenly they became part of my day dream fairy tales. As I became older, I would “act out” in my head potential scenarios that could happen, so that I was prepped and ready for whatever was thrown at me. This ranged from work conflicts to running into old flames to standing up to those I disagreed with and many more, but the most often made up happenstance of my own creation was when I would meet “the one.” When I would create dialogue in my own brain, I usually created a scene as well.

My eyes didn’t have to be closed for this and I didn’t have to focused solely on my thoughts, but naturally as my mind created words, it also created images. Supposedly, it is an impossibility to picture or create a face from scratch, and that every pixel of a human portrait we concoct has been part of one we’ve seen somewhere before, however never in my many musings when I envisioned me meeting my soul mate did I picture my husband.

I was never a particularly romantic person, and so the fact that I most often scripted my future husband in my head more than any other scenario is an odd notion. I think it’s because it was the easiest for me to be creative with. It could happen anywhere, at any time, with any one, and so the possibilities were endless. In my mind I’d met someone abroad in Europe, someone famous who fell in love with the “commoner,” a small-town boy who would love my family, a crush from grade school — and no matter what — we always had the perfect “meet cute.”

Sometimes we bumped into each other at the coffee shop or he saw me from across the library and came over. No matter what, it was a story for the ages. Isn’t it great, that life is nothing like we picture? Rob and I met in a high school hallway, and he probably barely noticed me. It was nothing like my perfectly cliché ideas. Still yet, I would sometimes play out potential scenarios of he and I if we ever were to start dating. I imagined our love story before it happened. There is both good and bad to that; the good is that our dating life was anything but ordinary, as the creative ideas I envisioned I often brought to life, but rarely did he respond the way I pictured him responding in my head.

I once brought the security team cookies at our school, solely so that I could give them to him, and I pictured him coming up to my room at lunch, asking for more, and flirting shamelessly. Reality: he said thank you, smiled, and told me he’d eat them any day as I left the building after the final bell rang. Another time, I decided to wear one of my favorite ’40s inspired outfits — a fit and flare, half calf mustard yellow skirt, a blue blouse with a minor puff short sleeve, white and tan saddle shoes, and a brown leather belt. I got to work extra early because I knew he was opening that day, and I wanted to be one of the first people he would see.

I hoped he would tell me I looked pretty. Instead, he said I looked like Snow White. Even still, when I finally sent him an email with my phone number I imagined all the ways he would text me, and in every instance he did so the day that I gave it to him. Nope. He waited 48 hours to do it, said that he was at a concert which is why he couldn’t respond (he wasn’t), and lead by saying “well, I’m off to party number 2” (he had multiple baby showers for friends that day, which I knew, but he didn’t even tell me who it was that was texting me or ask how I my day had been). I remember on that day I was talking to one of my friends from college asking him if I had been too forward or if I was stupid for liking this guy who either was really not into me or was just clueless and his response was, “You’re Samm freaking Swanson. Of course he’ll text you.”

Despite my husband’s incredible lack of game, and me telling him we should just be friends after I had had enough, he won my heart, but our relationship would continue to be anything but my musings. The chaos that is our story perpetrated itself into his proposal as well. I had known for awhile that he was planning on proposing. He’d asked my parents, we had talked about dates and venues, and we’d gone ring shopping, so it wasn’t a surprise to me when he did get down on one knee, but I didn’t expect him to do it when he did. Because I have such anxiety, I hate public proposals.

Where did my husband ask me to spend the rest of his life with him you say? At the giant Christmas tree in Millennium Park in December. The tree that is surrounded by hundreds of tourists every night. To his credit, I love Christmas and lights, and he wanted me to be surrounded by them both, but on the day he proposed, I was impressively crabby. I was tired and just in a mood.

We’d planned on going downtown for a few weeks, but on that day, I didn’t want to. It was cold, I wanted to stay in, and for some reason, he kept pushing we go to the Bean. “Fine,” I said, “but we’re driving and parking at Water Tower because it’s only $12 after 5.” He insisted we take a cab, which made zero sense to me because why would we want to pay an extra $20? Little did I know there was a photographer waiting for us. Then, when we got to the tree, we looked at it, snapped a few pics, and I was ready to go. “Wait,” he said, “let’s look at it on the other side.” “Why?”

I responded, “It looks the same?” The photographer was on the other side, which I didn’t know, so I was annoyed that he was dragging me to the other side of the tree that was nearly identical to the one I was looking at. Then, he started his speech, I realized what was happening, and begged him not to get down on one knee, all while laughing from elation of what was happening and crying from dread of attention. I said yes so fast I don’t think he was on the ground for two seconds. He was so flustered from trying to convince me to let him propose that he proposed with the ring box backwards and facing him.

It’s funny, how all my creations in my head have never come true. I’ve pictured so many different situations and scenarios that I can’t even recount them. In the moments before I fall asleep, I’ve “written” in my mind half a novel, and when I’ve woke the next day, completely forgotten it. Dreams are often more enticing than reality, but reality is so much sweeter. This weekend is our one-year anniversary. Like our relationship and proposal, our wedding went anything but planned, but our marriage? Our marriage is solid, because together we’ve created a reality we’re both privy to.

My love, you are my most unexpected life twist. You make me better just by being next to me. You make me stronger just by supporting me. You make me happier just by loving me. Like I vowed to you on our wedding day, I promise to put you first in all things, only after God. I promise to let you clean all the empty water bottles out of my car, and to have many more debates about Taco Bell being better than McDonald’s. Today, I promise you that I will always let you finish my coffee when I don’t drink it. I promise to always watch every video you show me about motorcycles, and to sit on the couch with you to watch your shows. I promise to take risks with you, to cry with you, to dream with you, and to fall with you. You are my favorite milestone, my favorite reality. To the many adventures yet to come, love you more, lion hart.




Scenes and sounds, 11:45 a.m. Monday through Saturday.

Sunday: Father’s Day; 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, 1:15 p.m.; resident birthday party, 2p.m.

Tuesday: Crafts and gardening, 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 the word?, 1:15 p.m.; pokereno, 2 p.m.

Friday: What’s cooking, 11 a.m.; bunko, 1:15 p.m.; sing a long, 2:30 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 a.m.; reminisce, 10 a.m.; room visits, 9 to 11 a.m.; bingorama, 2 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Cooking Club, 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: CF library, 9:30 p.m.; Book Club, 10 a.m.; Mass, 10 a.m.; mystery ride, 1 p.m.; travel film, 1:30 p.m.; current events, 2 p.m.; action movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 10 a.m.; animal king, 10 a.m.; how do you feel?, 2 p.m.; night bingo, 6 p.m.

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

Friday: Crafts, 9 to 10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; monthly birthday party, 2 p.m.; mystery movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Word game, 10 a.m.; puzzle time, 10 a.m.; geri-gym, 11 a.m.; 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: Wet your whistle, 9:30 a.m.; 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.; bingo, 2 p.m.; pokeno, 5:45 p.m.

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

Wednesday: Remembering when, 10:15 a.m.; bocce ball on the patio, 2 p.m.; flip five, 5:45 p.m.

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

Friday: Finish lines, 10:15 a.m.; lucky 13, 2 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.; help your neighbor, 10:15 a.m.; music bingo, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant service, 2:30 p.m.

Monday: Derby day, 10:15 a.m.; bag toss, 2 p.m.

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

Wednesday: Penny ante, 10:15 a.m.; entertainment with Gail Hamby, 2 p.m.; Chaplet of Divine Mercy, 3 p.m.; bonfire, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Scattegories, 10:15 a.m.; prayer shawl, 2 p.m.; whammo, 6:15 p.m.

Friday: Exercise, 10:15 a.m.; trivia, 10:30 a.m.; happy hour, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Jokereno, 10:15 a.m.; pamper and polish, 2 p.m.; movie and popcorn, 5:45 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: Birthday party, 2 p.m.

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

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

Thursday: Communion with Deacon Don, 10 a.m.; left, center, right, 2 p.m.; Rosary, 3 p.m.

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

Saturday: Movie and popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; King’s Corner card game, 2 p.m.

Monday: Chair exercises, 10 a.m.; bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; one on one time, 3:30 p.m.; Pictionary, 6:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Lutheran service, 10 a.m.; hangman, 2 p.m.; entertainment by Valri, 2 p.m.; music and movement, 6:30 p.m.

Wednesday: Horse races, 10 a.m.; hangman, 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.; one on one time, 3:30 p.m.

Friday: Catholic communion service, 10 a.m.; go fish, 2 p.m.; social hour, 3 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.; Lutheran service, 2 p.m.; hangman, 2 p.m.

Monday: Sensory, 10 a.m.; song service, 1:30 p.m.; Rosary, 2:30 p.m.; sensory, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Working on the float, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; bunco, 3:30 p.m.; Scrabble, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Working on the float, 10 a.m.; painting, 2 p.m.; rummy, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Working on the float, 10 a.m.; bingo, 1:45 p.m.; one on one visits, 3:30 p.m.; card night, 6 p.m.

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

Saturday: Outside social, 2 p.m.; parade in the evening

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.

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, Reuben sandwiches, marble rye, potato chips, and dessert.

Tuesday: Soup, salad, hot beef sandwich, mashed potatoes, gravy, vegetables, and dessert.

Wednesday: Soup, salad, cheeseburgers, mac and cheese, calico beans, and dessert.

Thursday: Pork roast provided by the center potluck style — sign up by June 25.

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

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. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors age 60 and older but not required.

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.

Telephone reassurance is available for any senior who doesn’t get out much and would like a friendly daily phone check to see that all is well.

Tuesday — Noon meal with barbecue chicken, potato salad, baked beans, soup and salad bar, fruit, juice, and watermelon.

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. The local MMAP counselor can be reached at 1-800-803-7174, or dial 211.

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.

Volunteers are always welcome.