Love and life don’t always come easy, but the unknown can be beautiful

IRON MOUNTAIN — I used to think that love would be like a fairytale. In my musings, I could picture it: a dapper man reading the paper in a coffee shop sees a woman sitting in the corner, sipping from her cup. He stares at her for a few moments, until their eyes meet; she blushes ever so slightly and tucks her hair behind her ear, he sets the paper down, walks over, and the rest is history. They undoubtedly fall in love in one day and live happily ever after for the rest of their lives – but life isn’t like that at all, is it? – no, it’s not like the movies.

In real life, people don’t always get their happy endings. When I was teaching in Chicago, and my class was learning how to see past perception to find the reality of a situation, I gave my students what I called a “Famous Love Story” quiz. On the quiz were roughly twenty couples, all famous in their own right, some being fictitious characters and others being historical ones. Among the list were names like Lucy and Ricky Ricardo, John Kennedy and Jackie, Romeo and Juliet, Pocahontas and John Smith, and many others. The kids then had to write down the couple’s love story, the way they’d perceived it their entire lives. For the most part, the commonality between my students’ stories were that most of the couples were happy and in love, but in reality, almost all the couples on the list somehow had relationships that failed and weren’t what they seemed. Most never got their “happy ending”.

Lucy and Ricky got divorced, JFK had affairs and was later killed, Romeo and Juliet thought life without the other wasn’t worth living and Pocahontas married a different John. The love of this world doesn’t always meet our expectations. A lot of times it falls short and never quite reaches its full potential. It’s a hard for us to comprehend a love that is successful because we are surrounded by failed attempts at it, yet they’re the relationships we tend to look to emulate. We use them as fuel to try and retain command of how we think our lives should be going.

When I first met my husband, I knew I was going to marry him. People might say that that’s crazy, but it’s true. I’d been on a two year dating fast, as I called it, because for so long I’d dated all the wrong people for all the wrong reasons. I was expecting love to be one way, and when it wasn’t given to me in that manner, I decided it was because in some form, I must not have been worthy. So I put myself down in order to seem more “appealing” – after all, a perfect love story is all a girl could ever want. Wrong. When I finally realized my view was unhealthy, and I wasn’t being fair to myself, I made a pact with God that I wouldn’t date until He sent the man he wanted me to marry. To some, that may not make sense, but we all have our morals, and for me, it did. By putting the worldly picture of love aside, I was able to fall in love with who I was, which was a relationship I hadn’t put nearly enough effort into.

Ever since I was a kid, I’ve written in journals. Sometimes I’ll go back to look through them, just to lament on where I was in that particular stage of my life. There is a common theme; I’m never where I thought I’d be. In high school, I thought I’d be writing for the Chicago Tribune, with a baby on my hip at 25, living in the windy city, married to my then high school sweetheart. In college, I thought I’d be the perfect single gal, changing the world one mind at a time, working with the underprivileged, living with my cats until I jetted off to teach in France. After meeting my now husband, I thought we’d still be in Chicago, with one of us pursuing our further education and starting our life there, adopting within a few years. All of these things were wrong.

I often sit and think about where my life would be if it weren’t here. As I was putting my office together in our new home, I had to sort through boxes and boxes of old student work, lesson plans, and books. I became incredibly sad looking through everything, because all I could think of was the good. In that moment, I desperately missed my old kids, and I felt pain for not being there for them. I felt like I was letting them down. It was my husband who had to remind me that yes, I loved the students, and yes, I loved teaching, but I was miserable. The administration was exhausting, the bureaucratic hoops were debilitating, and the constant stress of being understaffed took its toll on my psyche. In life, like that of the famous love stories, our perception of a situation can often be clouded by our own biased view of our believed reality.

I finally came to this realization on my own when my good friend was telling me how she missed her old job, and I responded by telling her that at her old job she was overworked, underpaid, and exhausted all the time, and thus she was despondent. I told her that we tend to forget the bad and pine for the good, but if we were really back where our emotion was taking us, we probably wouldn’t be happy. We can’t wonder what our lives would’ve been like if we’d just done this or just gone there, because we have absolutely no idea.

It’s a beautiful thing to miss an old experience, and it’s also a beautiful thing to live your best life now. In life, and love, we don’t take chances enough because we think that we have everything figured out. We think that we can somehow control the outcome of our stories, by refusing to let go of the reins. We have an idea of what romance should look like, or how a triumphant life should go. In one of my journals, I found an entry from when I first started dating my husband. It read:

“I have this thought in my head, and it scares me, like saying it out loud will make me crazy, or jinx it, or make me look like a fool. I’ve never had this thought before. The reality is, there are still so many unknowns. Maybe this thought is there because we haven’t had a fight yet. I haven’t met his friends yet. I haven’t seen him with his family and he hasn’t seen me with mine. How does he plan an important date? How does he feel about joint bank accounts? Does he have a good credit score? Honeslty, we know so very little about each other.

How can I possibly have the thoughts that I have? I feel like I’ve come straight out of a Hallmark film and I’ve completely lost my mind. This has to be infatuation. It can’t possibly be real. We’re in this blissful place where it’s just us – no restrictions, opinions – just us. Just a couch, a movie, and a cat. It’s like the banana belt of relationships; eventually the storm hits though. Am I only not sinking because I’m in the banana belt, and as soon as I leave, my ship will start to take on water? I keep thinking of the quote, “What if I fall? … but darling, what if you fly?” I feel like he’s the guy to make me fly. What scares me is I don’t know if I’m ready to fly – if I want to fly – and will he wait for me if I’m not? He’s so ready to fly. He’s been leaping and falling for years. I think I’m the girl to make him fly, but what if I’m not?”

Eight months later, I followed it with an entry that simply read: “It wasn’t infatuation. It wasn’t fake. I found out his credit score (it sucked). We agree on bank accounts. I met his family. He’s met mine. We’re still meeting all the friends. We’re not in the banana belt. We fight, but we love more. I didn’t fall, I flew.”

My husband is my great love story, and he’s also my biggest curve ball. He threw all my future plans out the window, and everything I’d tried to control came to a screeching halt. He’s nothing like I planned, and he didn’t sweep me off my feet like in the movies. I didn’t end up traveling the globe (yet) and we didn’t stay in Chicago, and yet, he’s everything I ever wanted. I’ve found that with life’s unpredictability, there comes a beauty of self discovery. In the moments that are unplanned, and the times of true trial, you find out who you really are. As Steven Curtis Chapman says, life is a glorious unfolding. It isn’t always a fairytale, and our perception of a matter is often highly skewed, but the best way to learn how to fly, is to first accept that you have to fall.




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.; Brouhaha, 1 p.m.; Bingo, 2 p.m.; Ice cream social, 3 p.m.

Tuesday: Crochet, 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 & 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. HAPPY THANKSGIVING!

Friday: Coffee social, 10:30 a.m.; What’s cooking?, 11 a.m.; Bunko, 1 p.m.; Happy hour, 3 p.m.

Saturday: Meet & 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 and Friday).

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

Sunday: One to one church visitors, 8:30 to 11 a.m.; room visits, 9-11 a.m.; Name that word, 10 a.m.; Afternoon matinee with popcorn, 1:30 p.m.; Church of Christ, 3 p.m.

Monday: Cooking, 9-10:30 a.m.; room visits, 1 p.m.; Bingo, 2 p.m.; Sunshine club, 2:30 p.m.

Tuesday: CF library, 9:30 a.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.; Musical movie, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Coffee social, 9 a.m.; Travel club, 10 a.m.; Wii fun, 2 p.m.; Web browsing, 2:15 p.m.; Nite bingo, 6 p.m.

Thursday: Turkey bowling, 10 a.m.; Wildlife film, 1 p.m.; Happy hour, 2:30 p.m.

Friday: Crafts, 9-10:30 a.m.; Spelling BBball, 2 p.m.; Comedy movie, 6 p.m.

Saturday: Word search, 10 a.m.; How do you feel, 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 & 4:30 p.m. (Monday through Friday)

Popcorn Day, Fridays (weekly)

Protestant Church service, Sunday, 3 p.m.

Exercises, 10 a.m. (daily)

Sunday: Just Jokes, 10:15 a.m.; Morsels and more, 1:30 p.m.

Monday: Who, what, when, 10:15 a.m.; Crystal Hogan Entertains, 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 p.m.; Thanksgiving Party, Soundz of Time entertain, 2 p.m.; Flip five, 5:45 p.m.

Thursday: Thanksgiving social, 9:30 a.m..; Thanksgiving bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: ManorCare monthly, 10:15 p.m.; Lucky 13, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Current events, 10:15 a.m.; Bingo, 2 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, second Monday of the month at 2 p.m.

Weekend pet visits.

Sunday: Rosary, 8:30 a.m.; Catholic Mass, 9 a.m.; Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; Pamper & polish, 1:30 p.m.; Protestant Service, 2:30 p.m.; Christian fellowship, 5:30 p.m.

Monday: Shopping outing, 9:30 a.m.; Creative art, 10:15 a.m.; Jan & Gino, 2 p.m.

Tuesday: Bingo, 10:15 a.m.; Crafts, 1:30 p.m.; Yahtzee, 6:15

Wednesday: Thanksgiving trivia, 10:15 a.m.; Joker-eno, 2 p.m.; Movie and popcorn, 6:15 p.m.

Thursday: Catholic mass, 9 a.m.; Thanksgiving social, 10:15 a.m.; Turkey bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: Yoga, 10 a.m.; Happy hour, Jim D., 2 p.m.

Saturday: Baking, 10:15 a.m.; Pamper & 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 T.V. 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 T.V. 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 T.V. 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: Packers vs. Ravens, noon; Bible study, 1:30 p.m.; Refreshments, 3 p.m.

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

Tuesday: Bern’s birthday party, 2 p.m.; Refreshments, 3 p.m.

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

Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving!

Friday: Suzuki piano players, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Movie & popcorn, 2 p.m.

Florence Health Services

Florence, Wis.

Sunday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Packers vs. Ravens, noon; Trivial pursuit board game, 2 p.m.

Monday: Balloon volleyball, 10 a.m.; Bingo with Bette, 2 p.m.; Room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Tuesday: Pastor Doug Lutheran Service, 10 a.m.; Monthly birthday party with music by Jan & Gino, 2 p.m.

Wednesday: Parachute exercise, 10 a.m.; Wheel of Fortune, 2 p.m.; Room visits, 3:30 p.m.

Thursday: Happy Thanksgiving! Pastor Jason, Lutheran Service, 10 a.m.; Bingo, 2 p.m.

Friday: Catholic Communion Service, 10 a.m.; Baking mini pecan pies, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Bingo, 10 a.m.; Uno card game, 2 p.m.

Pinecrest Medical Care Facility


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

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

Sunday: Grace church, 10 a.m.; Scattegories, 10 a.m.; Packer game, noon; Packer party, 2 p.m.; Sensory, 2 p.m.

Monday: Beauty shop, 10:30 a.m.; Rosary, 2:30 p.m.; Movie, 3 p.m.; Ball toss, 6 p.m.

Tuesday: Omelet breakfast, 8 a.m.; Happy hour, 2 p.m.; Social circle, 3:30 p.m.; Word puzzles, 6 p.m.

Wednesday: Baking group, 10 a.m.; Bunco, 2 p.m.; Scrabble, 3:45 p.m.

Thursday: Tea party, 10 a.m.; Bingo, 1:45 p.m.; Cards, 3:30 p.m.; One to one visits, 6 p.m.

Friday: Mass, 10 a.m.; Spa music, 10:15 a.m.; Spa treatments, 2 p.m.

Saturday: Hand massage, 10 a.m.; Life stories, 10 a.m.; Bingo, 2 p.m.; Manicures, 2 p.m.

Victorian Heights

Crystal Falls


*Activities director out on maternity leave. Please 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 every Tuesday, Thursday and Friday at noon.

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 Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.; volunteers and donations are welcome.

Birthdays acknowledged every day.

Evening meals are held 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. (a salad bar will be open at 4:30 p.m.). The dinner donation is $5 for those age 60 and over and $6 for those under age 60. There is a take-out container charge of $1. All persons are invited. 

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

Center is closed Thursday through Sunday. 

A site council meeting is held on the third Wednesday at 3 p.m. 

Blood pressure taken by request anytime the center is open.

Monday: Soup, salad, breakfast casserole, homemade muffins, fried potatoes, homemade dessert

Tuesday: Soup, salad, stew with homemade bread, homemade dessert

Wednesday: Soup, salad, sauerkraut, pork & sausage, homemade pierogies, homemade dessert

Crystal Lake Center


The center is closed on the 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, etc. also welcome; Knitting and crocheting class, 1 p.m. 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 held on the second and fourth Friday’s of the month from 7 p.m. to 10 p.m. Admission is $6 and coffee is free.

The Photo Club meets on the first Tuesday of the month from 1 p.m. 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 beginning at 4:30. A donation of $4 is accepted for seniors (60 plus), but not required.

Home delivered meals are for seniors 60+ and 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 Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. Call the center to book your 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 on 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 under 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 (over 60) and $5 (required under 60).

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 (over 60) and $3 (under 60). Call 265-6134 to schedule a ride

Niagara Northwoods Senior Cafe’ & 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

Tuesday, bingo

Nov. 30, LRC Tournament

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

Please call 24 hours in advance for meal reservations.

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.

Tuesday, Thanksgiving dinner, please sign up early

Thursday, center closed.

The center is selling tickets for their holiday raffle. 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.

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.

Volunteers are always welcome.