Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Why Is "Great" Art Masculine?

People have been complaining about how the Oscar nominations again ignored women and people of color, and yesterday I read an article in the Washington Post about how it wasn’t just particular classes of people being shunned by the awards, but particular genres of movies. This is not news to me: you only have to look around to see that any art form that appeals more to women or minorities is considered less “serious” than those that appeal to straight white males. Take music, for example. Critics love classic rock, but they tend to consider dance music “frivolous,” and who usually likes dance music? As far as I can tell, everyone besides straight white males: women, people of color, and gay men. Or books – the “classic” authors like Ernest Hemingway write very masculine literature, while literature that appeals to women is often mocked. Why is this? Is it because critics have historically been straight white males? Who decides what is “serious” art worthy of consideration and what is “silly”? Being a woman with typical feminine tastes along with some masculine ones (I enjoy war movies), I long ago learned to tune out critics. Who cares if what you like is deemed great art or not? Go ahead and enjoy it.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 14, 2020

Is You Is or Is You Ain't My Enemy?

One odd thing I’ve noticed about our deep political divide these days is the cognitive dissonance: if you continually try to “make snowflakes cry” and “trigger the libs,” then why would you be deeply wounded that your friends and relations of a different political stripe avoid you? You can’t antagonize people constantly and then turn around and say, “But we shouldn’t let our differences separate us!” If you are speaking of reasoned discussion, then yes, people with different perspectives can get along. But if you are openly hostile to all people who disagree with you, then you can’t be surprised that the individuals you know who disagree with you will want to avoid you. I ran into this with a relative who posts a lot of inflammatory stuff on social media but then said he wanted to meet some very liberal relatives, who only knew him through his posts. When I pointed out rather bluntly that it was strange that he would want to meet people he disagreed with so vehemently, he seemed shocked. In his defense, he is young and maybe doesn’t realize how he comes across, and they did end up meeting. But he is far from alone – I see a lot of people on social media who go on and on about how people who don’t agree with them are horrible sub-humans, and then they wonder why I avoid them or unfriend them. What, am I supposed to just listen to you go on about how you think I am the vilest of the vile? Rich pointed out that I sort of did the same thing when I wrote an email to Sirius XM telling them they were a “cog in the patriarchy” for only having stations named after white males instead of sending them a carefully worded email about how they should rethink their practices. He is right, of course, but at least I am not saying to Sirius XM: “Why don’t you want to hang out with me? Why can’t we still be friends?” It would behoove all of us to stop telling those we disagree with how they are terrible people and instead try to explain why our point of view differs from theirs. There – I have a New Year’s resolution! Besides eating more vegetables and letting people end conversations instead of continuing to talk at them.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 13, 2020

New Washing Machine

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday I went to the grocery co-op to buy the salmon that was on sale that day only, and the place was packed because a huge storm was predicted. Travalon cooked the salmon to perfection, and then we holed up for the evening, doing a jigsaw puzzle in our loft. (I am definitely Ma Hat’s daughter – she is a jigsaw puzzle addict!) We figured that was the safest place for it, but we are doing it on the carpet, so it’s getting kind of janky about lining up right. Travalon bought it at the Sinclair Travel Station gift shop; it’s a painting of a bunch of old gas pumps, including at least eight Dino the Dinosaurs of varying sizes. It’s a fun puzzle, because no two pieces are the same.

Saturday the weather was bad, and I felt a little like I was coming down with a cold, so we didn’t go to Oconomowoc for Travalon’s mother’s 94th birthday. We thought we were going to just hang out at home, but then someone said on social media that she was giving away a washing machine, and ours died a few months back, so I rounded up Rich and Kathbert, and we rented a truck from U-Haul. Of course as soon as we signed the truck contract, the snow began to fall, but then we were committed. It actually all went pretty smoothly, and Travalon successfully did a load of laundry in it today. We tried to treat Rich and Kathbert to dinner to thank them for their help, but they took a rain check so Travalon and I went over to the Naughtigal ourselves. We were the only ones there, and I felt sorry for our waiter, so I said to Travalon that we should tip him $20.20, since I saw online that people are doing that for the New Year. So we did it – we left our server a tip almost as big as our bill. I had been wanting to do it, and it was the perfect opportunity.

Yesterday I didn’t feel well enough to sing, so we went to Mass at the church near our house. Then Travalon went to see his mother for her birthday, but we figured I shouldn’t come along. I just read and worked on the puzzle. When Travalon came back, we went out to Sauk to do some eagle-watching, and we saw one on the island and possibly some by the dam – some birds were flying around, but we couldn’t tell what they were. We did look at the one on the island through the telescope they have set up for that purpose, and we could see her scratching her head and then turning to look at us. What do the eagles think of us? Probably not much. We came home and watched the Packer playoff game, and at first we were way ahead of the Seahawks, but then their quarterback Russell Wilson (who used to be a Badger) decided to take apart our defense single-handedly, while our offense stalled. But then the Pack got back on track, and when they needed a big third-down conversion, Jimmy Graham (“the slow white man”) came through. I am going to have to rethink my opinion of him. I know Tiffy will too, and judging by the comments on social media, a lot of people thought he was useless until his three big catches last night. Hey, if you’re finally going to come to life, the playoffs is the time to do it. Also, Tiffy tells me he is not totally white, so for all these reasons I am going to have to retire my nickname for him.

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 9, 2020

Cuddly Sailboats

Now that I’m back to the workaday world, I don’t have so much to blog about. This morning I did wake up briefly because Shippy my cuddly cruise ship fell on the floor – I heard it, but then I looked and couldn’t see it, so I fell back asleep. Then when I really had to get up, there was Shippy – it had rolled a little under the bed, which is why I couldn’t see it while lying in bed. Then this afternoon I met up briefly with Travalon, and we saw a sailboat docked for the season called Boaty McBoatface, which is sort of what Shippy is named after, and that made me wonder if there are any cuddly sailboats. Of course there are, but they are all made by women in Australia, so while the prices aren’t bad, I’m sure the shipping costs would be horrendous. I did find a pattern, so I emailed Ma Hat to ask if she could make it. One thing I’m sure of is that I couldn’t do it myself! Also, while these cuddly sailboats are adorable, I have to wonder if they would really be as fun to snuggle with as Shippy, because their shape isn’t as conducive to hugging. Too bad Christmas and my birthday just passed, because now I would have to wait a whole year to ask anyone for a cuddly sailboat when they wonder what I’d like for a present.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 7, 2020

Birthday Adventure Photos

Here are some photos from my birthday adventures. First is the awesome house in Deerfield that was super decorated for Christmas.

And here is a movie of it, so you can see the lights dancing.

And this is another house in Deerfield that is almost as decorated.

Here is the teal beer I had at Funk Factory.

And here are the "memojis" that Tiffy created. This one is me, Tiffy, and Travalon.

And this is Rich. The bottom one, with the orange eyes, is really true to life.

This is the pretty rock I bought at the crystal store, that supposedly gives you self-confidence for public speaking. I just think it is pretty!

And this is the sunset we saw in Bellville on Sunday.

And finally, here is the short (3 minute) movie I promised of the Christmas lights in Richland Center:

Famous Hat

Monday, January 6, 2020

Birthday Adventures

Happy Epiphany! I hope that my readers had a good first weekend of 2020. For New Year's Eve, Travalon and I went to his old high school buddy’s house, as usual, and we met up with a third couple at a supper club in Fond du Lac, as we always do. We went to the third couple’s house to play games, as usual, but the fourth couple who always joins us couldn’t make it this year so maybe that’s why things seemed a bit tamer. One thing that was kind of funny (warning: PG humor ahead!) was when Travalon talked about how people “tweet and twat” on Twitter, and I thought that was hilarious, so I wrote a tweet: “Last deep thought of 1999: Trump doesn’t tweet, he twats!” And then I couldn't figure out how to edit it! Sigh. Maybe people will think I was drunk, but that’s if anyone sees it – nobody really follows me on Twitter.

New Year’s Day Travalon and I managed to get to 11 am Mass and even find a parking spot in the tiny lot they have at St. Patrick’s. I went for a walk while Travalon watched a bowl game, then we went to my OTHER choir director’s annual New Year’s Day open house, with all the desserts he makes. He led a hymn sing in the middle of the party, and then things moved from the community room to his apartment. Travalon happily talked to Cecil Markovitch while I was completely enthralled by a woman’s story about visiting Antarctica. It all sounded very exciting, especially seeing an albatross with a fourteen-foot wingspan fly overhead. This was during the Rose Bowl, so we taped it and then went home and watched it. Sigh… how can you win a game if you turn the ball over FOUR TIMES? I’m amazed that they only lost by one point. I ran in place while watching it, so maybe that is why I couldn’t get to sleep until 3 am.

Thursday Tiffy didn’t have to work, but I had to do one task at work, so I went in for half a day. We tried a couple of places for lunch that were closed, so we ended up at Crema Café, then we took a walk at Olbrich, and then we had golden milk at the vegan café in Garver Mill, Surya. In the evening we met Travalon and Rich for dinner at the Tornado Grill, since Tiffy always wanted to try it so she had asked Rich eons ago if sometime we could do a steak night where women were allowed. We sat in a cozy back room, and the food was amazing. I had the smallest steak and still couldn’t finish it.

Friday was my actual birthday. Travalon had to get up for work, so I woke up a little, saw my cuddly cruise ship Shippy had fallen on the floor, and the next thing I knew it was an hour later so I must have just fallen back asleep without rescuing Shippy. I blogged of course, and then when Travalon got back from his morning run (the only thing he had to do that day), we met Tiffy for coffee downtown and then did some shopping on State Street. We drove out to Sauk but only saw one eagle flying away from us, so we went to the Mixing Bowl, where I got a free cookie. We drove to Spring Green so I could get free lunch, then we went to the crystal store, the tea store, and the soap store so I could get free stuff. Travalon got a bit sick of such girly pursuits, so he went out to the car and drove to meet us at the opal store, where I bought myself a pair of earrings. We drove back to Lake Wisconsin and checked out the Christmas lights on Paradise Island, then we went to Fitz’s so I could have my half-price dinner. Because Travalon is a prince among men, he then drove us to Deerfield to see an incredibly lit-up house that his high school buddy’s wife had told me about. Fortunately it was still lit up! We came back to town and went to Funk Factory, where I had a teal sour beer that tasted like coconut and pineapple. It was called a Blue Hawaiian. Tiffy showed us how her phone can make emojis that look like a particular person, so she made one for me, one for herself, one for Travalon, and one for Rich. Then we went through the Olin-Turville lights one last time before dropping Tiffy off, and then Travalon and I went to the East Side Club for Latin dancing. It started at 10 pm, so I promised we would only stay an hour. When we first got there, only a few other people were there, including a neighbor and her friend. The four of us danced happily for a while, then we got tired and sat watching other, better dancers. By the time we left, a lot more people were arriving, and they were dressed way sharper than we were, so it felt like exactly the right time to leave.

Saturday I met Tiffy and Rich and some other people for coffee, then Tiffy and I went up to the Capitol, but they had already taken down the State Christmas Tree. Why? Christmas ends today! We went to a plant store because I had a birthday coupon, but it is actually good until the beginning of March, and the only plants I wanted were ones I either already have or recently killed, so I decided it was a sign not to get yet another plant. We had lunch at the vegan café in Garver Mill, then we took a walk at Tenney Park, and then we went over to Rich’s house to help him prepare for my birthday party. We made eggnog, and then people started arriving, including Travalon, who had spent the day going to a Marquette basketball game and visiting his mother. It was a lot of fun to see how people who didn’t know each other got along, like Miss Heartsong and Handy Woman seemed to hit it off, and Light Bright and the former Lute Player both gamely sang from the Peter and Lou Berryman songbook that Cecil Markovitch gave me while Lute Player’s husband played the piano. My OTHER choir director brought a gingerbread house for us to make, but we were too busy all conversing to get around to putting it together. Somehow I ended up at the Kiddie Table with Tiffy, Travalon, OK Cap, and Cali. The Single B-Boy gave me a funny card, something like, “If you guess the number inside this card, you’ll win a million dollars. Hint: it’s between 3 and 5,” and then you open it up and it said something like, “It’s 4.5682435861247. Did you guess it?” Afterwards Kathbert and I stuck around to help Rich clean up, and we both felt oddly drugged. Could it have been Handy Woman’s delicious lavender bread? Or maybe just the combination of so many desserts? Rich also made black magic cake and chocolate mousse. I have to say, it will be tough to top that birthday party! The funniest part might have been that there were two people with the same birthday, and three sets of two people with the same name.

Yesterday I had to sing a two-line solo at Mass, which I had forgotten about. My new crystal is supposed to help with confidence in public speaking; I actually only got it because it’s so pretty, but maybe it did help me overcome my stage fright. Who knows? Then Travalon and I joined Kathbert at Rich’s house for leftovers of the eggplant and chicken parmesan Rich had made for dinner the night before, and of course leftover eggnog and desserts. I needed a nap after all that birthday fun, while Travalon watched the Vikings beat the Saints. (Boo!) We went for a walk in Bellville, and I felt way too sorry for a tundra swan that was all alone, and the Canadian geese wouldn’t let him hang out with them. He kept screeching plaintively for his own tribe, but they weren’t around. I wonder what happened there? Then we drove to New Glarus to check out their lovely Christmas lights, and we also saw some stunning houses with their lights still up, and the beautiful lights in downtown Verona, but for some reason the Epic campus was not decorated for Christmas. I wonder if they already took them down? It’s sad but true – we have come to the end of that magical time when Christmas lights are everywhere. I wish people would leave them up for the rest of this month – it would make the long, dark evenings so much better.

Famous Hat

Friday, January 3, 2020

Photos of Christmas and New Years Eve

Happy 2020! I am taking the day off of work for my birthday, and soon Travalon, Tiffy, and I will have a grand adventure. First here are some pictures from recent adventures. This is a video of the swans on Lake Mendota. Sorry that it isn't better.

My one plant at work (the "mystery plant" that is a bean peperomia) is doing something odd. Look at the top of it.

Here are some photos from the Third Day of Christmas Carol Sing. I don't get to see Darth Luther much these days!

And here is the inside of the Lutheran church.

The organist who hosted the party afterwards has the most beautiful collection of small glass Christmas trees.

Here are photos of our trip to Rochester. Travalon is with his favorite icon!

Here is the flight of beers that we had at the brewpub in Rochester. They were all delicious!

This is the pool at the Kahler Grand Hotel, with the dome over it.

Here are some shots from the Our Lady of Guadalupe Shrine in La Crosse:

I will try to make a movie of the lights in Richland Center soon; here are a couple of photos to whet your appetites.

This is a really beautiful jewelry shop window in Spring Green:

And here is my family when I was sixteen! I don't remember ever looking this good.

This is a screenshot of a text Richard Bonomo sent me in reply to my question of how a fundraising dinner had gone. You can ignore the people's names, since Siri messed those up anyway, but I love his description of the dinner! I tried to read it to Kathbert but almost choked, I was laughing so hard, so Rich tried to read it, but he also was laughing too hard, and so Kathbert had to read it herself - and then she started to laugh really hard. Travalon was dozing on the couch, but when he heard us all laughing, he laughed in his sleep.

Here I am with the people we went out with on New Year's Eve. Not looking quite as good as at sixteen!

And finally, this is a short movie of the Christmas House in town.

Famous Hat