Wednesday, August 5, 2020

Crane Family Reunited


Today a kind of cool thing happened. I was walking on one of my work breaks with my neighbor, and we saw the teenage crane wandering around all by itself. This concerned both of us, so we walked toward where we could hear some cranes sounding off. To our surprise, it was a group of five: the parents of the crane, and the other couple with their youngster. I pointed in the direction where we had seen the young crane and said, "She's over there!" (Note: I have no idea what gender it is.) You could tell they knew I was trying to tell them something, but they weren't sure what. (As a woman passing by said, "You don't speak Crane?") My neighbor says they recognize our voices, since we are walking around and chatting multiple times per day, and I know birds are very visual, so they probably recognize me as that short human with the strange thing (hat) on its head. We weren't sure what else to do, so we continued on our loop on the boardwalk, and when we came back to our starting point, there was the young crane, milling around. We herded it back toward where we had seen the other cranes, and they had already started coming that way. Did they actually understand my pointing? So the family was reunited, thanks in part to us. Awww!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

The Good News vs. Business as Usual


Last night at Night Prayer, Richard Bonomo mentioned that he saw the daughter of some former parishioners of ours, and she has left the Church. There are times I can't blame her! Every Sunday morning it is a struggle for me to go to Mass, but I do so because I truly believe Christ founded the Church, and that I, a sinner, desperately need the Eucharist. Right now because of the pandemic, there is a line for those who want to receive in the hands to avoid contagion, and we go in it, but I feel like people are judging us. Nobody has said anything directly, but people sure post about such things on social media! I was praying about this, and it felt like God was shaking His head. "The Last Supper wasn't on the tongue," He pointed out. "That isn't My rule. Humans always create their own strange rules and then judge others who don't follow them." But that is far from the only thing humans have FUBAR'd about religion. If you actually read the Gospels, Christianity is a very radical religion that says the poor are worth just as much as the rich and powerful. However, a lot of people at my church think Trump is some divinely-appointed emissary of God, and he sure seems to be all about keeping the rich and powerful on top. That's not the Good News that electrified the world; that's "same old, same old." Who would get excited about that? Who would say, "A religion that says the rich are good and should stay in power, and the poor are worthless and deserve to have even less than they do? Wow, that's worth living and dying for!" This is why our evangelical outreach is a complete failure - we're basically preaching the opposite of Jesus's message! If to be a member of this religion you have to vote for a political party that has shown over and over that it values the rights of the rich and powerful over the rights of the working people, many people would say, "No thanks, that's not a religion I am interested in joining." I really think we need to keep politics and religion separate, and that people of faith can vote their conscience, but boy, that is not a message you would get at some churches! I believe the family of the girl who left go to a parish outside of town that some refer to as "Tradistan," you know, with the old-school Latin Mass and a priest who is a devout member of the Republican "Catholic" Church. (Or, as a blogger I deeply respect calls them, Qatholics.) They follow Trump and his prophet Vigano over the Pope, so they have already become Protestants. Someday the rest of the Trump worshipers will follow them, and we can have the Catholicism back that I remember as a little girl, going to a Franciscan school, where I first heard the actual Good News and found it amazing.

Famous Hat

Monday, August 3, 2020

Going Back to My Office


Today I got to go into my office to collect some stuff. I did get some work stuff, though I was mostly interested in the crystals and toys I had left behind. My boss wanted us to take our computers home, but I will freely admit that I am a Luddite and would not be sure I could set it up correctly at home, and I can guarantee that the IT people don't do house calls. While I miss my mouse and dual monitors, at least my current setup works, so I am loathe to mess with it. It was very eerie going into my office building, because nobody was there, although there were a lot of random people wandering around on campus. The little sign on my door said I would be back at 7:45, just the way I had left it. So sad!

Then after work Travalon and I played tennis, and the neighbor I always walk with came home and offered to chase balls for us to get more steps. I think all three of us got quite a workout! It was so much fun. After dinner I prayed with a wooden rosary that looks very old, with corroded medals and crucifix, and I think it was well-loved, because it is missing some beads and looks like it was repaired. Maybe it's my imagination, but when I pray with these antique rosaries, as opposed to new rosaries I order off the internet, there is something very pleasurable about them, as if I can feel the prayers of their previous owners. If I had to guess, the previous owner of this rosary was a very unpretentious man. Only once did I encounter a rosary where there was actually a resistance when I prayed it, and I sensed that the previous owner was a young woman who was very angry about something. I prayed for the owner, and I prayed with the rosary again and felt like it was trying to tell me something: "Jesus always stands with the oppressed. Make sure you do too!" I continued to pray for the previous owner, then after a few weeks I prayed with that rosary again, and I felt such absolute joy and gratitude coming from the person who used to own it. It was like we were two little girls who joined hands and spun around together. That was amazing.

Speaking of gratitude, I was yesterday years old when I realized how lucky I am not to have been the favorite child. A relative of mine was, and since he always got everything he wanted growing up, now he can't understand why he can't get women, since they have free will. Once he wrote on social media about why he preferred to date women in their twenties over women in their thirties, which is kind of twisted because he's in his mid-forties. So he'd rather date a girl who could be his daughter than one who could only be his niece? Sure, some young women want much older men, but usually wealthy ones, and my relative has no money. You know the expression "Don't be a nickel out looking for a dime"? He's a penny out looking for a dollar bill. He actually wrote something on social media about how it was much more important for a woman to bring things to the table than for a man to do so. Sure, he can have this attitude, but then he will have no luck with women. I am so grateful that, as the non-favorite, I don't feel like the world owes me anything. Instead, I am incredibly grateful for everything I have. It's a much more joyful way to live.

Here is a picture of the Big Boy figurine (actually a bank) that Travalon got in Brodhead. Today when Travalon cooked the Big Boy cod recipe for dinner, the figurine looked on approvingly. 


And here again is the cloud Travalon said looked like the Big Boy character, so you can compare them.


This is the Texaco sign he got in Brodhead.


This is the Pete Alonzo bobble head we got when we went to the movie at the Duck Pond. He played for the Mallards and now plays for the Mets, where he hits with so much power that they call him the Polar Bear. He won all kinds of awards, like Rookie of the Year - an award first won by Jackie Robinson, by the way.


These are some flowers we saw when we took a walk on campus today. They are so purple that they just make me happy. They were outside of the Allen Centennial Gardens, but we couldn't go into the gardens, so we walked along the Lakeshore Path. I used to do that on my lunch break every workday.


Be grateful for the purple flowers, and the bobble heads, and the old rosaries in your life. You will be so much happier than if all you do is think about all the things you think you deserve but don't have.

Famous Hat

Sunday, August 2, 2020

Backtracking in Brodhead


Well, it's August, so everyone can laugh at me. I had thought Trump was the mouthy horn from the Book of Daniel since the 80's, when he had no political power, and he was only supposed to rule for a year, two years, and half a year. I told everyone he would be gone by the end of July, but he's still here. So feel free to mock me pitilessly.

Last night Travalon and I went to see 42, the biopic about Jackie Robinson, at the Duck Pond. I sure do miss baseball, but going to a drive-in movie about baseball on the baseball field was a lot of fun. We watched the movie on the scoreboard. It was terrible what Jackie had to go through, but his wife and Branch Rickey were very supportive. I totally think baseball needed to be integrated, but there are always unintended consequences to everything, and when the Negro League ended because blacks could play in the Major Leagues, a whole bunch of black-owned businesses connected with black baseball went out of business, and it really devastated the black economy in this country. At least, that's what Ken Burns says in his documentary about baseball. There should have been a way to avoid all that misery, but I suppose it would have involved letting black business owners sell things at white-owned parks, and I'm sure they wouldn't have allowed that back in those days. And sometimes I feel like we haven't made much progress since then...

Today Travalon and I drove south and took a hike at the Magnolia Bluff County Park, a lovely wooded area. Then we went to Brodhead, partly because they have put those billboards up again advertising it like crazy. (They had one up on the way to the airport, and I thought, "Who flies to Brodhead?" but they do have an airport, and biplane rides apparently.) We tried to find some antique shops; one was right downtown but was not open on Sunday, so we tried to find another one south of town with an address, but my phone led us to a private residence. So we tried to find another one south of town, couldn't, went back to town, and asked at a gas station. The woman directed us to an old church that maybe was an antiques shop at one time, but currently it is a bed and breakfast. So Travalon called one of the ones south of town, and the woman was just closing by then, but she said she would stay open for us. I did find a number of cheap rosaries, so my total was less than what I'm used to paying on a per-rosary basis. Travalon got a statue of Big Boy and a sign for Texaco with Dalmatians in a fire truck. Then we wanted to find the covered bridge Brodhead is known for, but that is north of town so we had to pass through downtown again. We were joking that if anyone was watching, they would wonder why this maroon Lexus keeps going back and forth through town. 

We came to a beautiful park on the banks of the Sugar River, and we asked a couple of bicyclists if they knew were the covered bridge was. They directed us to the bike trail and said it was about a mile past the road. So we started walking, and I saw a purple coneflower like the ones I had seen at Magnolia Bluff from too far away to get a good picture.


I'm not even sure we had to walk a mile to get to the covered bridge. Here it is from each side. It is a replica, built in 1984.



Then we went back to the park, which was called Pearl Island. Here are some shots of the Sugar River.




We crossed a dam and walked along a path on the outside edge of Pearl Island, but it didn't go all the way around. I had the brilliant idea to take a path into the woods on the island, thinking it would be a shortcut, but we walked and walked, and just as we were almost there, we came to this scary bridge. We had backtracked enough today, so I carefully inched my way over the bridge, and then Travalon did, and I took a picture to prove it. It looks like something from an obstacle course for military training.


That worked, and we came out of the woods right by the dam, so we crossed back over to the car. Then as we drove home, it would drizzle while the sun was out, and I said, "Where's the rainbow?" Then suddenly - there it was! The two I had seen in Madison lately were double rainbows, but this one was a single rainbow with a supernumerary rainbow - that's the faint teal and pink stripes you can see under the purple stripe.




Last time we went to Brodhead we saw a rainbow, so maybe they should play that up in their advertising campaign.

Famous Hat

Saturday, August 1, 2020

Fun Day Close to Home


Sorry that I didn't blog yesterday. First Travalon and I played tennis, then we sat on the dock drinking adult beverages (and I used an adorable unicorn koozie), then I buzz-prayed with a huge, North Woods-style rosary, and then I talked to Tiffy. Here is a picture of the koozie.


Today Travalon and I watered my garden plot, and I got two radishes and some ground cherries from it. Then we walked the trail on Governor's Island, and after that we went to Patrick Marsh and tried to walk all the way around it. Unfortunately we got halfway around and hit a dead end, so we had to backtrack. We didn't see many birds other than swallows and one cormorant swimming, but we did see lots of interesting flowers. Here are some of the prettiest ones.

cardinal flower

blue vervain

berries of false Solomon's seal

On the way home, we saw this smiley face in the clouds! Travalon thought it looked like the Big Boy mascot, inspired by a kid named Richard Woodruff.


After that we went swimming at Warner Beach, and late tonight we will go to a drive-in movie at the Duck Pond. We're going to watch 42, a biopic about Jackie Robinson, so appropriately baseball-themed.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 30, 2020

Swimming with the Wildlife


This evening Travalon and I went swimming, and on the way we passed the little pond by the Westport Town Hall. To my surprise, there was a bird that looked just like a loon on it - I can't think what else it would be, but that makes no sense. They are not migrating through at this time of year, and no loon would hang out on a little pond - they like deep lakes. I said to Travalon that we should take a look at it, but he said after swimming. We went to Governor Nelson and swam in Lake Mendota, and two ducks were swimming toward me, but when I said, "Hi, ducks!" they quickly veered away from me. Later a muskrat was swimming right toward Travalon, so I waded alongside it and said, "Hi, muskrat! Where are you going? How are you doing?" The muskrat tried to swim faster to get away from me, but it couldn't swim any faster than I could wade, so I walked alongside it, and the water was about up to my shoulders so that we were eye to eye. Finally it got tired of me walking alongside it and talking to it, so it dove beneath the water, and it must be able to stay under for a very long time, because we didn't see it come back up. Then we headed home and checked out the pond; no sign of the mysterious bird (I had thought maybe it was a fake loon), but we did see a bunch of geese and two pairs of cranes.

Here are some photos of our recent acquisitions from antiques shops. These are three of the rosaries I bought in the antiques shop on Odana Road - I am only just getting to those now.


These are a French rosary made out of ebony, an interesting rosary with no starting beads and a Four-Way Cross instead of a crucifix and a centerpiece that says "Altar Boy," and a rosary with silver-plated glass beads that reflect light beautifully.

Here are the beautiful rosaries I bought in Waukesha yesterday. The one on the arm of the chair is the expensive one. Did I pay too much? Maybe, but if I hadn't gotten it, I would have regretted it.


This is the Fred Flinstone man cave sign that Travalon got in Janesville.


And this is the Hamm's Beer sign he got in South Beloit.


I couldn't find any rosaries in either place, but I did get the blue parrot (from the movie Rio) in South Beloit and the January Birthday Beanie Baby Bear in Janesville.


This red dog was something we got at an antiques store outside of Algoma, on our trip back from Door County. The mouth needs some repair, as you can see.


On its paw is a Chinese character, so I asked my colleague from Shanghai what it says, and she said, "Love." Which makes sense, because on its other paw it says "love" in English.


Travalon went to a sidewalk sale they were having at the Duck Pond and got some Mallards bobble heads. This one is called "The Evolution of Maynard," who is the Mallards mascot.


This one is Colt the Bat Dog, a real dog who fetches the bat after the batter has tossed it aside.


So these are some of our newest treasures. Stay tuned to see what we might find next!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Sailing on Lake Michigan


Today I took the day off of work, and Travalon and I drove to Milwaukee for the two-hour sailing trip I had won in the Early Music Now silent auction. We had a very personable captain, and she said I could do the jib sail if I wanted, or we could have a relaxed ride with a better view of the skyline if we didn't put it up, so we chose that option. She did let us each take the tiller for a bit. She said I was doing such a good job that she let me steer us all the way back to the dock, only taking it at the very end for the trickiest part. She said, "You two do know your way around boats!" and I suppose she does see all sorts of people come for a sailing trip, so the fact that we tool around in our little fishing boat all summer, and I took sailing classes for a semester decades ago, gives us an advantage over many of her passengers. It was a perfect day out on the lake. Once we got back to shore, we walked to the kite store and bought a kite. We got one there a few years ago, and we enjoyed it a lot until it met an untimely end in the back of Travalon's car.

Then we drove to Waukesha to visit an antiques store that had been closed when we went antiquing there before. This one had a number of very beautiful rosaries; I felt one was overpriced, but they gave me a discount, and after all a thing is worth whatever you are willing to pay for it. It is a stunning rosary. One of the women working there even found two more for me that I had overlooked, and one was so beautiful, with opalescent heart-shaped beads. I didn't buy most of the rosaries there, so anyone looking for antique rosaries, there are still plenty at the Waukesha Antiques Mall. 

On the way home we took a hike on the trails by Rock Lake, then when we got home I took another walk with our neighbor, who had gone on a trip and had such a weird time that she had to tell me all about it.

Here are some photos from our sailing trip.

















As we drove home, we saw little rainbows on either side of the sun.



Then after I got home, my neighbor texted me to say there was a gorgeous sunset.



So it was a wonderful day all around!

Famous Hat