Thursday, April 30, 2009

Unlitter Day Parade

This video makes me happy.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

a wake for my dad

You are invited to come celebrate the life and times of Don “Dad Feets” Wierenga, who passed away unexpectedly on April 20, 2009 while spending time with his daughter here on South Padre Island.

An island-style wake will be held Friday, May 1 at the SandBox Inn - 117 E. Saturn Lane - starting at 5 PM. There will be food and drink - all dad’s favorite things. We will share memories and sing a few of his favorite songs in one of his favorite places -- under the trees where he spent so much of the past four months. It will be a great opportunity to learn more about this amazing man, enjoy the company of other people who knew him -- and bid him a fond farewell.

At dusk we will light a ceremonial fire sculpture created specifically for this celebration by Alice Abbot of Brownsville.

If you play or bang something, please bring it with you as we hope for/expect both drum and song circle action as the night winds down.

If you would like to bring something to eat or drink, that would be nice but please do not feel obligated.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

What I said at my Dad's funeral (more or less)

I moved to Texas 29 years ago with a small suitcase of teacher clothes, a trunk full of books and the love and support of my parents - Don & Ginny Wierenga. In the intervening years I acquired a few other things, though a husband and kids were not not to be part of the package. I did however get a nice old beachhouse. Lots of friends, a few really good ones, and - for the past four months - my Dad.

We had a great time together. We ate food that wasn't good for us, we drank too much wine, and we watched MSU go down in flames on the basketball court together. And we built a sweet little annex onto the back of my house. Rather, dad built it while I cheered him on. He was just finishing it up last week when the worst thing I could never imagine happened....

A week ago at this time, I was competing in a sand sculpture event in Port Aransas, TX while dad took care of my animals and my life. While I was holed up in a tiny cell of a motel room with no internet access or cell phone service, the server that hosts all mine and my friends' websites went down. Tech support was not answering or returning my calls. I didn't know when or even if things would be back up and I told my fellow sculptors it was the worst week of my life. (Which reminds me of the old joke Walter is fond of telling: "cheer up, he said. things could be worse! so she cheered up and sure enough, things got worse...." )

In the middle of all this, my dad left a voicemail on my iPhone:
" Hi Cin, it's Dad. Hoping you are back on track this morning. I know it must have been a rough night for you...
Anyway, thinking about you and loving you. You know, just kind of back off if you can and let things slide. Life goes on. You'll be okay. I have your puppy on my lap right now. We are all missing you and hoping that you have a good day. So take care. Love you. Goodbye.

I learned a lot of things from my dad, but the most important of all was that - no matter what the question, love is the answer. No matter what the problem - ultimately, love is the solution.
The cynics will roll their eyes and shake their heads, but I know what dad taught me and the huge turnout at his service speaks volumes...

It was dad's fervent hope that my house - the sandbox inn - would become "Glen Lake South" for my family. He built the annex for himself, yes but we talked often and at length about the future and how he hoped his kids, grandkids and members of his extended family would all find peace and joy there long after he was gone.

Dad's spirit will always reside with me there. Please come visit us.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Dad Feets

Donald “Dad Feets” Wierenga of Douglas, Michigan and South Padre Island, TX passed away unexpectedly on April 20, 2009. He is survived by his wife of 57 years, Virginia Wierenga of Douglas, MI; daughters Debra Wierenga of Holland, MI, Susan Wierenga Pyle (Steve) of GrandHaven, MI and Lucinda Wierenga of South Padre Island, TX; grandsons Dylan, Emerson, Eliot and Shane; numerous cousins, nieces and nephews; and hundreds if not thousands of grateful friends & acquaintances who were lucky enough to experience the full extent of his boundless love and energy.

Don spent his first half century as an educator and a counselor. He quickly rose to the administrative level in the Grand Rapids MI school system, but never lost his touch with the kids. He was a really good listener, which made him a really good arbitrator/counselor and in fact he spent some of his final hours trying to negotiate peace between a troubled nephew and his family.

After taking early retirement, Don explored his creative side, creating graceful sculptures of driftwood, rocks and shells he called “Bird Castles. “ He sold some at art shows but gave away far more of them - often on a whim to people he had just met. He also became an active member of the SPI Sons of the Beach Sandcastle Wizards, assisting Amazin’ Walter and sandy feet with a number of major sand sculpture projects all over the country. Just last summer - at the age of 77 - he helped daughter Lucinda carve some 50 tons of sand in two days for a festival in Petoskey, MI. He could shovel men a third his age under the table!

Don liked to build things, and he was really good at it. He built homes with his father, and he built homes for his family, including a playhouse in the back yard for his daughters. In his later years particularly, he used his skills to help others. He took his tools into the worst of Katrina-hit Mississippi and assisted many families in rebuilding their homes and their lives after that devastating storm. In the fall of 2007 he worked for three months as a volunteer in a small town in Kenya that is being built to help families devastated by the AIDs epidemic.

Don was finishing up his final project -- an annex on his daughter Lucinda’s SPI home -- when a construction accident took him away from us. He had hoped to spend his remaining winters in Texas building sandcastles with sandy feet, taking long beach walks with Peach and joshing the bartenders at Blackbeards, where he was something of a regular.

There will be a wake at the Sandbox Inn (117 E. Saturn Lane, SPI) on Friday, May 1 starting at 5 PM. All of Don’s Texas friends are invited to come celebrate the life of this extraordinary man.

If you have photos or memories that you would like to share, please visit his memorial site.
If you are interested in learning more of his accomplishments, please visit

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Nightmare on Saturn Street

It has been 3 days and counting since the server that hosts some 120 SoB and friends websites went down - and almost that long since I had any update from the company I pay to maintain that server. To say I am unhappy is the understatement of the century...

We think we are waiting for a part.

In the meantime, I have moved to another server so I can at least get email again. And blog. Except all the "recent" posts date back to the last time I backed up my blog -which was apparently (um) some time ago.

I am feeling really bad for all the individuals and businesses who entrusted their sites with me. I am talking sobbing, quivering heap of jelly bad. But that doesn't fix anything, does it? I don't know if I should begin the humungous task of moving everything to a new server, since my current "partner" is not giving me any info upon which to base important decisions. On Tuesday I am heading to Port Aransas where I will be up to my elbows in sand and unable to do much of anything. As timing goes, my tech guy could hardly have picked out a worse one to do this to me.

I think I may be done taking responsibility for hosting any but SoB sites. The stress I have experienced over the past 3 days has affected my health and my spirit. Right now it really sucks to be me.