Wednesday, October 18, 2017

The View from Holy Hill

Last night Hockey Girl and I went to a concert in which a bunch of students played Vivaldi's The Four Seasons, and they were amazing! I used to listen to a lot of Vivaldi in my mid-twenties, more L'Estro Armonico than The Four Seasons, but definitely anything by the Red Priest, and this made me think I should pull out those old CDs and listen again. They started with "Fall" instead of "Spring," which is how I usually hear it, to match the actual season I suppose, but I liked that because it ended with the fiery final movement of "Summer." Viva Vivaldi!

Today I used a floating holiday to take the day off of work and join Travalon in taking his mother to Holy Hill. We do this every October, and today was a beautiful day to do it. However, it was also quite windy, so when Travalon and I tried to go up to the top of the bell tower, we stopped at the first open level. I could have gone up higher, but that is not the issue - coming back down is! I was afraid that with the fierce wind I would be far too terrified to go down the open staircase. The view was amazing even from the lower level, and we could see the skyscrapers of downtown Milwaukee thirty miles away. We also went to Pike Lake State Park, and Travalon and I hiked on part of the Ice Age Trail after we took his mother back home. My regular readers will be stunned to learn that I bought two rosaries at the Holy Hill gift shop, but I had a prepaid Visa card from doing a health assessment at work, so it was like getting free rosaries. One is an Irish rosary, and I have a sub-collection of those now, at least three and probably more. The other one is a one-decade wooden rosary with a tau cross for the crucifix; it is supposed to be a bracelet, but it is far too large for me to wear it that way, so I thought about using it as an anklet but finally decided I would use it as a "walking rosary." It should work well to use on my lunchtime rosary walks. We encountered a priest as we left the shrine, and he happily blessed my rosaries. I am not sure how many of my other ones are actually blessed...

Famous Hat

Monday, October 16, 2017

Aaron Rodgers and Buddy Guy

I hope my readers had a good weekend. After I blogged on Saturday, Travalon and I watched the Badger game, which had a very good outcome, and then we went to see a honkey tonk band at the Lakeside Café. I was in a strange mood and kept feeling like something bad was going to happen. With all the stuff going on in the world, who knew what that meant? But then I thought maybe it was the oppressive weather.

Yesterday I was feeling a little under the weather, so we went to the Mass near our house, then we watched the Packers game and saw Aaron Rodgers the quarterback get injured. And he might be out for the season! And after that they couldn't get anything going and they lost to the Vikings! This is terrible news, but right after that my bleak mood lifted, so that must have been the bad thing I somehow felt would happen, and compared to what bad things could happen, it’s far from the worst thing imaginable. After the game Travalon and I went for a walk beside Tiedemann Pond, then we went to see Wonder Woman, which is a really good movie, and then we saw Buddy Guy play at the Overture Center. He cheered me up completely – he is so funny! And talented, of course. So today, even though I had to go back to work, the black cloud had lifted from over my head, and I feel lighthearted. Plus the sun is out – that always helps. 

Famous Hat

Saturday, October 14, 2017

Japanese Garden in Rockford

Yesterday Travalon and I went to Rockford and had lunch at the Beefaroo, then we went to the Anderson Japanese Garden. We went through it once, then we looked at the map they had given us and realized we had gone through it backwards, so we went through it again and paid attention to each special feature. Afterwards we went to the Sinissippi Garden further down the road, so it was a very botanical day for us.

Today I had a gig at the orchard where my band plays every autumn, but the proprietress tried to cancel because the weather was so lousy. We didn't know, so we showed up and played for an hour anyway, and she gave us each a bag of apples for our troubles. It was so cold and wet that my fingers did not want to cooperate, but it hardly mattered because our audience basically consisted of our fiddler's two preteen grandkids.

Here are some photos from our adventures since returning from California. This first one is a cactus at the Nature Conservancy land near Spring Green with a couple of fruits on it.

Next are some shots from High Cliff State Park and, of course, Lambeau Field.

This next shot is of Travalon as the ferry arrived at the port on Washington Island.

Next, the old water tower on Rock Island:

This is the inside of the boathouse on Rock Island. Some Icelandic guy was going to make the island a resort way back in the day, and he built this beautiful building. I did not get a good shot of the outside of it, sorry.

Someone got a little creative with the rocks on the aptly-named Rock Island:

This is a beautiful view from the port on Washington Island:

On Washington Island there is a lake called Little Lake, presumably because it is on an island in the Big Lake:

Here are shots of the outside and inside of the stave church on Washington Island:

This boat looks like it goes with the stave church! It mysteriously appeared at the marina across the river from us.

Here is a shot of the Japanese garden in Rockford.

This is the gravel garden. It had a more scalloped pattern earlier, but the second time we went through, they had changed it to little squares like farm fields.

Finally, two videos! The first one is of the whitecaps on Lake Michigan as we were taking the ferry across it to Washington Island.


This is a "deer chaser" in the Japanese garden. It fills with water and then makes a loud clunk as it hits the basin. These were traditionally used to frighten deer out of gardens in Japan.


Famous Hat

Wednesday, October 11, 2017

Taco Tuesday with Trivia

Last night Travalon and I decided to go out for tacos at the Club Tavern, since they are 75 cents apiece on Taco Tuesday. It was great! We sat next to a couple of women who were playing a trivia game, and since we are trivia addicts ourselves, we naturally started helping them. I’m not saying this was all us, but they went from sixth place when we got there to third place at the end of the game. Meanwhile, Travalon and I enjoyed tacos and then couldn’t believe our bill was just over $5. What?? You can’t eat at home for that cheap! Best of all, when I entered the calories into my diet app, it said it was a really reasonable dinner. So guess what? Travalon and I are going to go to the Willows tonight for more cheap tacos! Sorry, choir peeps – I am skipping practice again because we also have band practice tonight. It’s just too hard to go to both, and we have a band gig on Saturday at one at Eplegaarden (in case any of my readers are interested, but I hear it’s going to rain) so it seemed important to make band practice.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

More Thoughts on Historical Racism

There was an incident on campus yesterday, I guess “in honor” of Columbus Day, where someone painted racial slurs on a space sacred to Native Americans. It really bothers me that people would do such things, and then they say, “There is no more racism in this country. So stop talking about it.” Really, people are posting things like that on social media. They say talking about racism is what’s causing it. I just say imagine that you had a nice house, and I stole it from you and said, “Tough, it’s mine now – I’m stronger and better, so that’s God’s will.” Or imagine that I dragged you to another town that you had no connection to at all, and I made you get a demeaning job, and then I stole your paychecks. Now imagine I had a daughter and she was still benefitting from everything I stole from you. Would you be satisfied if she said, “That was my mother who did that – I’m innocent”? Wouldn’t you still want your house back, or your lost wages? All this time later, I am not sure exactly how we would calculate what is owed to the people who had so much stolen from them, but we still have their houses and stolen wages, and some people say it’s ridiculous that they even want an apology, never mind what is rightfully theirs. I think if you can’t understand their anger, you are not trying very hard. To me the problem is painfully obvious.

Famous Hat

Monday, October 9, 2017

We Finished the Book!!

I hope my readers had a great weekend. Friday Travalon and I ran errands, then we drove north, stopping for a long hike in High Cliff State Park. We got to Green Bay in the evening and had dinner at 1919, the restaurant in Lambeau Field. We had a delicious fish fry – how does it get more Wisconsin than that? Unfortunately (or fortunately, since we couldn’t spend any money) the Packer Pro shop was already closed for the evening by the time we got there, and we didn’t see any actual Packers there, but then we thought hey, it’s their work place, and would we want to be at work on a Friday night?

Saturday we got up early and drove up the Door County peninsula until we got to the Washington Island ferry. We took the first one of the day over and went to a café, then we went to the last bar from our book!! Can you believe it? It only took us five years… I had a shot of the bitters they make there, and so the bartender gave me a membership card for the Bitters Club, which she stapled into our book. She also signed it with the most brilliant saying ever: “Party to the bitter end!” It was so perfect! The weather wasn’t perfect, and the ferry over to Rock Island was an exciting ride with the big waves. Travalon and I hiked all over the island, checking out an old water tower and a small museum. We caught the ferry back to Washington Island and explored that island, which has a lake on it called Little Lake and an actual stave church. Don’t worry, I took pictures. We caught the ferry back to the mainland, and that was the wildest ride of all, with the waves breaking against the bow of the ship and spraying us all the way up on the top deck. We went to Al Johnson’s, the famous restaurant with the goats on the roof, for their delicious hot chocolate, then we went to a fish boil in the shadows of the cliffs over Fish Creek. We even saw a rainbow there! So it was a perfect Door County day, except for the scary ferry rides. And now we have been to all the historic taverns, and Travalon has been to almost every state park except for a new one named after Governor Thompson.

Yesterday Travalon and I took a boat ride back into the marsh. We always see something interesting there, but this time I was blown away to see an actual sailboat. I have never seen one of those in the marsh! It was a very small one. We also saw lots of kayakers and some fighter jets. Then we went to a state park that is still a work in progress and hiked there. It had beautiful views of the surrounding hilly countryside. We ended the evening with dinner at the Chinese restaurant we had gone to for Chinese New Year, since Travalon remembered it so fondly, and then we went home and watched that thrilling Packer game, since we had taped it. Another wonderful day!

Famous Hat

Thursday, October 5, 2017

My Apology with a Broader Perspective

Remember my last blog post, about needing an “I’m Sorry” card? I can’t think of anything else to blog about, so let me elaborate on that situation. The person I snapped at with a great deal of sarcasm was a customer service worker, and I usually pride myself on being kind to such people and having a great rapport with them. I was simply at the end of my rope, but a complicating factor (maybe?) was that she was not white. Now maybe she just thought I was a grumpy customer, and indeed I was, since my snippiness had nothing to do with her race, but I wonder if she thought, “Snotty white woman full of white privilege who gets snarky when things aren’t going exactly her way!” So I felt a need to apologize not only for my bad behavior (and my apology was a simple one that didn’t mention race), but also because I felt somehow that I was representing my whole race. If you read websites written by people of color, they often mention this feeling that their behavior is judged not as being done by an individual but by their group, and this situation made me feel the same way. If this lady reads my apology, I am imagining her telling her equally nonwhite coworkers, “Look at this! A white person actually apologized!” The fact that my first name (or at least my hated childhood nickname that I no longer go by) is slang in black communities for a white woman who throws her privilege around may be the icing on the cake; I imagine this lady telling her coworkers, “How perfect is it that her name is Famous?” So maybe I will at least furnish some amusement for them, and hopefully they appreciate and accept my apology.

Famous Hat