Monday, August 21, 2017

Solar Eclipse Party at Work

Sorry for my silence. I suffered through a medical procedure on Wednesday, some minor outpatient surgery. It wasn’t until the afternoon, so I couldn’t eat or drink anything all day. Travalon took me on a boat ride, and out in the sunshine I didn’t feel any hunger or thirst. Then I had to sit in this boring little room with just a TV to keep me company, and I found a channel that played horrid New Agey piano music with beautiful visuals of mountain lakes. I thought, “I would love to canoe there! And there too!” Then they took me to the operating room and put me under, and the next thing I knew, I was waking up from the most beautiful dream of canoeing on one of those mountain lakes. I wanted to go back! They made me drink a ton of water and eat some delicious wheat toast slathered in butter, then eventually they let Travalon take me home, and we had a quiet evening.

Thursday I wasn’t allowed to drive, work, or make any important decisions. At first I felt fine, but as the day wore on, some painkiller must have worn off, because by the time Travalon came home I felt a lot more tired and achy. We went for a walk and then went to a cottage party at the East Side Club, where we sat with a family that had an adorable nine-month-old baby girl, so that was fun.

Friday I felt even worse, so Travalon stayed home with me in the afternoon and took me on a therapeutic boat ride. I was way too tired to go to the Dane Dance, even if it was one of my favorite salsa bands. Instead we went to the movie Megan Leavey, the true story of a Marine in Iraq and her bomb-sniffing dog, and how she tries to get reunited with him after the war. It was really good.

Saturday I started to feel more human, so Travalon and I went to visit his mother, then we took a free pontoon boat shuttle across the lake to an art fair. We looked at art and listened to some African drumming, then we took the boat back across the lake and headed home. We met some friends for a quiet dinner, then we went for a walk around Tiedemann Pond, and I got my usual 10,000 steps for the day for the first time in days. That felt good!

Yesterday we had a busier day. We went with Hockey Girl to Wollersheim, since she had never been there, and she took the winery tour while Travalon and I took a tour of the new distillery. We had the most amazing cocktail there of their apple brandy, cherry syrup, and cream soda. So good! Then Hockey Girl and I went to a sunflower maze and just wandered around in the cheery flowers while Travalon went to a little zoo in Baraboo. He really liked it and took us to it once we made our way out of the sunflowers. Then we went to Devil’s Lake. We also took the Merrimac Ferry there and back, since Hockey Girl had never been on it. It was such a beautiful day, and on the way over we had ice cream on the ferry – Zanzibar chocolate is the best!

Today I felt a little sad that I had no plans to go see the eclipse someplace where you could see the totality, and we couldn’t even find eclipse glasses, although we had been looking for three weeks. However, at work tons of people had glasses, and so we all stood around and looked at it. The sun looked like a very thin crescent moon. It was kind of like an eclipse party! I hope my readers got to enjoy the eclipse as well. Nature is so amazing!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Birthday Picnic for the Daughter of Denni

I hope my readers had a great weekend. I sure did. Friday Travalon and I met Cali for the dance on the Monona Terrace rooftop. The band this time played reggae and other tropical rhythms. We also enjoyed the DJ between bands but didn’t stay for the second band. We drove Cali to Sun Prairie and stopped for chicken wings at a hotel in town.

Saturday Travalon and I went to the new west side Chocolatarian, then we went for a walk around Tiedemann Pond, then we went to Marshall Park, and then we met Tiffy and Rich for lunch at  Sofra’s in Middleton. We thought about renting a pontoon boat from the Marshall Park boat rental, but Rich had too much to do, so the rest of us decided to go for a ride in our little boat. Our neighbor was about to take out his sailboat, so he gave us a ride! However, there wasn’t much wind so we didn’t really sail. Then Tiffy and I went to Eno Vino for dinner, and we joined Hockey Girl, Travalon, and Twins Fan at Collectivo, where we sat outside and talked about random things like stock photos.

Sunday Travalon went to Oconomowoc to visit his family. After Mass Tiffy and I joined some other people at Plaka for brunch, then we discovered $6 pontoon boat rides on Lake Mendota. Was that ever wonderful! We went to the outdoor theater for a picnic for the birthday of the Daughter of Denni, and then we all watched Cyrano de Bergerac. It is a very sad play.

Yesterday Tiffy and I took the day off of work, and we went to Miko Poke for lunch. A poke bowl is a typical Hawaiian dish with raw tuna, rice, and edamame. It was so good! Then we went paddle boating on Lake Wingra, but it was so windy that they told us we could only go in one direction. I guess that was the day we should have gone sailing! We had a beer on the patio at Waypoint, then she headed home and I went to Mass for the day of obligation and then met Rich and Light Bright for dinner at Pasqual’s. Again we sat outside. I love being able to eat outside and get on the water! Why can’t it always be summer?

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Friday, August 11, 2017

Central Park Sessions: Latin Music

Yesterday I went back to the Central Park Sessions for Latin Music Night. I met Travalon there, and we tried some of the different food carts as a salsa band played on the main stage. Then a really good band played in the beer tent while the next main stage act got ready. They were an electronic music group from Mexico City, and we weren’t as crazy about their music. Hockey Girl joined us, and she wasn’t too crazy about the electronic music either, but after that band finished, the really good group in the beer tent started up again. The headliner group was Cuban, and their music was fantastic. Hockey Girl said she hadn’t had high expectations, but she really loved them. Travalon was tired, so he headed home and stopped to get drunken donuts (flavors: gin and juice, lavender margarita, Potosi Steamboat Shandy – which is one of Travalon’s favorite beers – and vanilla bean old fashioned), while Hockey Girl and I stayed to the end. She said how beautiful the park was in the dark with the vendors’ tents lit up. Finally we called it a night, and when I got home, Travalon and I tried a couple of the donuts. We had the other two for breakfast today. Wow, are they good! They were made by Dough Baby on State Street. One of their flavors for August is a Key Lime donut, so we may have to stop by before the month is over.

Famous Hat

Thursday, August 10, 2017

Central Park Session: Bluegrass

Yesterday Hockey Girl and I went to Central Park to hear a couple of bluegrass bands. The opening band was a local one, and they had a ton of people: a banjo, a guitar, a bass, a mandolin, a fiddle, and a Dobro. They were really good. There were all sorts of food vendors, so I had some jerk chicken for dinner. It was such a beautiful night. The second band were from Nashville, and they were amazing. When I tried to put on social media that I was at the concert, I saw a number of other events going on in the area, and one was peace lanterns at Tenney Park, so when the band went on break, Hockey Girl and I headed over there. The lanterns were beautiful, floating in the lagoon, but people in canoes were just taking them off the water as we got there. They were to commemorate the atom bombs dropped on Japan. There was even a musical group there, so we got to hear lots of music last night. Tonight I’m going back again for Latin music!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 9, 2017

I Love Tennis

Isn’t it funny how you can thoroughly enjoy something you have no natural aptitude for? In general, people like things that come naturally to them, and I am no exception, but for tennis. Oh tennis, why do I love you so? Last night Travalon and I played again, and if we had to play by the rules, it probably would have been no fun. However, our goal is just to get the ball over the net, and then it is so much fun. I am slowly improving as we play more, and even my backhand stroke is getting better. I was surprised at how much control I had over a lot of my shots. Playing tennis makes me so happy, and it always has. Do I have hopelessly preppy tastes without preppy money? I love tennis and boating. It sounds so bourgeois, but neither really costs that much: there are plenty of public tennis courts, and if you have a little boat, then boating is cheap too. Why should rich people have all the fun? Anyone who wants to play tennis or go boating, let me know. I’m almost always up for either one!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Missing Light Bright's Inspiration

I don’t miss my old job, except for one thing: delivering the mail with Light Bright, when we got to walk about a mile, and we would discuss what I should blog about each day. She often came up with brilliant ideas, and I could use that now. The only thing remotely exciting that happened to me last night was when Travalon and I were coming back from swimming at the health club, and a deer leapt in front of our car. I have seen them on the side of the road before, but that was the closest either of us has ever gotten to hitting one… and hopefully it remains the closest! Light Bright might have had some great insight from that event, or she might have done something goofy on our mail delivery walk. She was a font of interesting blog topics. I could use that mail walk, too – it’s tough to sit still at work all day after a weekend of constant motion. Maybe Rich is right and I should figure out a way to row across the lake to work – that would get this need to move out of my system! My little half-hour walk at lunch just isn’t enough exercise for a whole day.

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Monday, August 7, 2017

Epic Canoe Trip on the Yahara River

I hope my readers had a good weekend and got to enjoy the cooler weather. Friday I took off of work for the Daughter of Denni’s annual bike pub crawl, but the weather was so cool, wet, and windy that I decided to just drive from bar to bar with Travalon. We did end up walking from the Olbrich Beer Garden to a woman's house, a lovely two-mile walk along the shores of Lake Monona, so we did get some exercise. Then we met Cali and OK Cap for the Dane Dance on the Monona Terrace rooftop for some more exercise. The first band was a salsa band, and then we were going to leave, but the second band was a really good soul music group, so we stayed for part of their set too.

Saturday Travalon and I had nowhere to be, so we decided to attempt our epic canoe trip to the part of the Yahara River where it becomes a tiny creek. Travalon almost fell out of the canoe as we were getting in, so we got discouraged for a moment, but the weather was perfect so we soldiered on. We stopped for a rest and snack break at the School Road pier, then we continued on, past the island, to the part of the river we had never been on before. There were a lot of lily pads, and both the white lilies and the tall yellow lotuses were blooming like crazy. I saw so many types of dragonflies! When we were way back in the marsh, at the spot where Token Creek comes into the Yahara, I needed to take care of some personal business, and nobody was around for miles. But – can you believe this? – a motorboat came up the river, with two guys and a big brown dog in it. What are the odds?? They went up Token Creek, so we went up the little creek that is the Yahara at that point. On our way back, we saw them again, and they were going really fast in the no-wake zone. Then we stopped at School Road for another break, and two guys drove their car right up to the pier, took down a canoe, and set off without moving their car out of the way. Was it just Rude Day that day? When we got back to our neighborhood, we could hear a really good Jimmy Buffett tribute band at the Nau-Ti-Gal and an okay cover band at Mariner’s Inn. We sat on our dock for a while, resting and listening to the okay band, until we got the energy to go to Banzo for dinner. Natty Nation, a great local reggae band, was playing at the Union Terrace that night, and it was a beautiful evening, but we were too tired to do anything after canoeing for eight miles round trip.

Yesterday we had brunch outside at the Crema CafĂ©, then we took a hike in Monona along the bike path I used to ride to work, back when I lived on Pirate Island and worked in Middleton. Cecil Markovitch called and asked if we wanted to meet him and the Single B-Boy at Eno Vino, a new rooftop bar downtown, so we wrapped up our walk and met them a little after three. However, the bar didn’t open until four, so we went to the Rigby for a quick drink beforehand. Can I just say that the view from Eno Vino is magnificent? It looks over Lake Monona. We had a cheese platter there, and I had a drink that was like a mango meringue pie, if such a thing exists. Then we walked to the new seafood place near our church, and Rich joined us for dinner. We were starting to get tired and achy again from our adventure the day before, so we called it an early night again. Prairie Man wants to go on a long canoe trip this fall, which we can’t do anyway, but I’m wondering if it would kill us. Even this morning the alarm woke us up (which is unusual), and we could barely move to get out of bed. Ah well, it was worth it to achieve my dream of finding out what is beyond the part of the marsh we can get to in our little boat. Answer: a whole lot of marsh!

Famous Hat