Friday, September 21, 2018

Dinner at Forequarter

Last night Travalon and I went to Forequarter because I had been wanting to go for a long time. It is a funny place that does not have its name on the front, just the address prominently displayed, including the fraction ¼ in the street number. Normally Travalon does not like what he calls “foodie” restaurants, by which he means the ones that list a dish like this: “Trout” and then a string of words that most people have no idea what they mean. I have heard it said that you are foodie if you know the difference between arugula and radicchio (and I do), but even I do not know what some of these words mean. However, at Forequarter the ingredients were a little less mysterious, and the prices were a little lower, so I had high hopes that Travalon would not hate the place. Another thing he hates about foodie restaurants is that their portions tend to be the opposite of generous, though usually artfully presented, but our appetizer of two tacos was normal-sized. Travalon actually really liked what he had, whitefish and potatoes. I had really good gnocchi with chevre – okay, so that’s goat cheese, but I did know what that meant. My drink was their take on a mojito, but with basil instead of mint and orange instead of lime. It was interesting, but not bad. Travalon had an apple brandy drink he really liked. Anyway, success! He actually enjoyed a foodie restaurant.

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Tuesday, September 18, 2018

Weird, Wet Day

Today is Jilly Moose’s birthday, so Happy Birthday! Yesterday a fun thing happened to me: as I was walking from work to Irish class downtown, the Wienermobile passed me. It played the “Oscar Mayer Wiener” song, then the guy inside it saw me and said over the loudspeaker, “Go Pack Go!” since I was wearing my Packer hat. Later I saw it parked downtown. It would be awesome to get to ride in it…

This morning started off weirdly for me. I forgot my lunch and would have to buy it, which seemed especially lame since Travalon had made a special trip to the co-op last night to get me some lunch for today. Then I stopped for gas on the way to the bus stop and somehow forgot my wallet in the car. Luckily I realized it just before getting on the bus, and there was time to go get it and still catch the bus. Whew! I was just settling in at work when the fire alarm went off, so we all had to go stand out in the rain for fifteen minutes until getting the all clear. Then I went back out into the rain to a meeting I had been invited to, though I wasn’t sure why, and going to it did not enlighten me any further. It seemed sort of irrelevant to me. At lunch I usually do a rosary walk, but it was still raining. Not wanting to hide in my office, I ran to the greenhouse where I had worked as an undergrad and checked out the plants. Some from my day are no longer there, but it is wonderful just to be around so many plants. Later in the afternoon I had another meeting… only I didn’t, it’s tomorrow, and I had it wrong on my calendar, so that was yet another trip out into the rain for nothing. Not a horrible day, just a weird one… so far.

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Monday, September 17, 2018

Jilly Moose's Birthday Winery Visit

I hope my readers enjoyed the hot weather this weekend, maybe our last taste of summer. Sorry that I have no update for you on the missing sculpture. Hopefully the officials are really looking into this and weren’t just blowing me off.

Friday evening I went down to the Union Terrace after work and listened to live salsa music while watching sailboats, until Travalon and a Slow Food person joined me for a Q&A with a writer from the Colbert show. He went to graduate school here and actually got into improv with a local troupe, so it was interesting to hear that Madison produces some comics of note. After all, we can boast Chris Farley.

Saturday Travalon had caught my cold, so we had a quiet day and then decided to head to Fort Atkinson, where Bahama Bob and Banana Wind were performing at a bar on an island. Sounds like a perfect venue for tropical music, right? They had posted on social media that the gig was called off because flooding had made the island inaccessible, but then Friday they had reposted the gig, so we assumed it was back on. We should have called first, because we got out there only to find that the road was indeed under water. Travalon figured we could salvage the trip by going to a new brewery in town… but it had already gone out of business. We did have a wonderful dinner at an Irish pub, then we were going to walk on the River Walk, but it too was under water because of the floods, so we headed back to town and checked out a Mexican Fest. We thought about going to the Willy Street Fair but were too tired and just headed home.

Sunday we didn’t feel well enough to come all the way downtown for Mass, so we went to the local church, where the parishioners are not very friendly. They won’t shake your hand during the sign of peace, and they don’t talk to you afterwards. (OK Cap says this has been her experience there as well.) We took the boat out for a short ride, and the heat on the water seemed to bake our colds right out of us. Then we went to the Willy Street Fair, but it didn’t seem as crazy as some years. Good food, though. Jilly Moose came over, and the three of us went on a hike by the Yahara River, then we met the other Rosary Ladies at Drumlin Ridge Winery for Jilly Moose’s birthday, which is actually on Tuesday. I got her a wine tasting with a commemorative wineglass, as well as a wine slushie for myself. Was that ever delicious! And it went straight to my head. Each of us bought a different snack plate, so we had cheese and hummus and chocolate-covered pretzels, and Luxuli got Jilly Moose a slice of cheesecake with wine sauce that we each got to sample. Afterwards Travalon and I watched the Packer game that we had taped, since it was too beautiful to sit inside and watch it live, and it just went on forever. They kept almost beating the Vikings, but the Vikings tied things up, they went into overtime… and then nobody scored, so after all that it was a tie. At least they didn’t lose…

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Friday, September 14, 2018

"Spare Time" Mystery

Sorry for my silence the last few days. I had a terrible cold and didn’t feel like blogging, besides having nothing to say. Yesterday I made an attempt to go back to work but left after half a day. As I was riding the bus, I saw a truck labeled “Smooth Moves Inc” make a right turn from the left-hand lane, cutting off a car. You can’t make this stuff up. You do see crazy things on the bus; a few weeks ago we saw a police car being towed, and it didn’t appear to be damaged, so my bus buddy and I speculated that it had parked illegally. Is that even possible?

Here my story takes a darker turn. The bus went around the square, and I looked up at the roof where “Spare Time” should have been… and there was nothing there! Even more strangely, it looked like someone had just taken it down, because I swear I saw someone's head and the top of the sculpture over the edge of the roof. I immediately emailed the city clerk to demand to know why they were removing my favorite piece of artwork. Someone got back to me right away and copied the city art commissioner, saying he hadn’t heard they were planning to do that. Then the commissioner chimed in, saying she didn’t know anything about it either. So the mystery deepens… Was it frat boys? Was it an unauthorized removal by the building owners? Is the sculpture just being cleaned? The commissioner said she would get back to both of us when she found out more, so stay tuned.

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Monday, September 10, 2018

Amazing Packers Game

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Travalon and I started ours off by going to the East Side Club for their fish fry (mm, catfish!), where there were a couple of guys playing blues and jazz. Then we went to the North Street Bistro to hear a band play Brazilian music. I really love that samba beat, and the music is so cheery that it sounds like sunshine.

Saturday Travalon went to the Badger game, while I hung out with Tiffy for her birthday. We went to the Farmers’ Market and saw all kinds of crazy stuff, like 10-pound puffball mushrooms and all different colors of cauliflower, and I treated her to lunch at Himal Chuli, one of her favorite restaurants. We hung out in the roof garden of her sister’s apartment building until Travalon and I had to go to my department picnic. It was a potluck, and I made mini hamburger cookies. They are total sugar bombs, but they are very cute – I will post a picture soon. Later in the evening Travalon and I got together with Tiffy and Rich at the bar at the Hilton hotel.

Yesterday was Tiffy’s actual birthday. I saw her briefly after Mass, but she had to run off to see another friend, and Travalon and I were going sailing with our neighbor. That was great! The only thing is that I put on a ton of sunscreen, and my face is still pretty red. Why must I have a complexion that does not fit with what I love to do? I should have been either one of those indoors people, or much darker. Travalon and I went to see his mother in Oconomowoc, then we stopped at a restaurant in Lake Mills for dinner. They advertised spaghetti pizza, saying it sounds weird but tastes delicious. I would say it sounds weird but tastes uninspiring. Then of course we watched that game. Can you believe that game??? What a way to start the season!! At first the Packers were doing so badly, and Tiffy texted that they were adding insult to injury by doing it on her birthday. At halftime the Bears were up 20-0, and everyone on Twitter was saying the Packers’ season was over in one quarter because Rodgers had been carted off the field with a knee injury. But he came back in the second half, still clearly limping, but proving why he is the highest-paid player in the NFL. He just started throwing touchdown passes until they came back from behind and won by one point. This may have been the most exciting Packers game I have ever seen in my life. I’m glad I stayed up to watch it to the bitter end!

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Thursday, September 6, 2018

More Pictures of My Summer

Here are some other pictures I have taken lately. First is a petunia growing between the curb and the street in Reedsburg.

These are a couple of shots from the 14th story meeting room in my office building: the view out of the window, and three bass balalaikas that are stored there.

Here are some shots from our trip to the Railroad Museum in East Troy.

And here are some shots from our boat ride on Pewaukee Lake.

The Viking boat is back in our neighborhood, with more decorations:

A coworker brought me these things from Germany. The box of mints says, "Sunshine for you" and the coaster says, "Everyday Heroine." This was to thank me for a big favor I did for her.

Here are pelicans, a bald eagle, and the sunset from our sunset cruise on Horizon Marsh:

In Beaver Dam there is a restaurant that appears to be called "Ng's Garden Buff," although it is actually called Ming's Garden Buffet.

This is the stick figure statue on a building on the Square.

Here are some shots Travalon took on his trip up north: a pizza place he went to overlooking the lake, and the view from the cottage they rented.

Here is a shot of me taking a picture of my succulents in the kitchen window:

Finally, some videos. First is a steel drum band doing "September" by Earth, Wind and Fire.

This is the carillon playing "On, Wisconsin."

And finally, here is a video of Travalon demonstrating all the instruments in the riverside park in Beaver Dam. I know it is kind of dark, but you can get an idea of all the instruments.

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Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Photos of Our Straight Lake Road Trip

Here are some photos from our recent road trip. This first one was a cute picture on a truck ahead of us. At another point we were behind a boat called "Garda Madra," which is Irish for "Police Dog," but I didn't think to take a picture of that.

This next picture is a cairn someone built in the Red Cedar River along the path Travalon and I followed:

Here is the overlook at Kinnikinnic State Park:

Travalon took this picture of me on the St. Croix River cruise:

This is the adorable island in Straight Lake:

Here is the overlook in Interstate State Park:

The waterfall in Merrillan is beautiful:

Here are a couple of shots of the charming coffee shop we had lunch at in Black River Falls:

Here is a shot of Lake Wauzee from the overlook in the county park:

And finally, here is the view of Round Bluff covered in mist from Mill Bluff State Park:

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