Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lots of Buxtehude

I have been busy with the Early Music Festival, although this year I am not taking classes. Tuesday evening they had a concert put on by various faculty members in the Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest, which is where I sang for many years in the choir. It was a beautiful space for music that was originally sung in the Marienkirke, the Lutheran church in Lubeck. (Though of course the church was built to be a Catholic one.) Then yesterday there was a “fringe” concert that was not part of the official festival but was based on the same theme: Lubeck. The second half of the concert was all Buxtehude, and the first half was all pieces that were found in the Marienkirke library. It was also in a church, the Presbyterian chapel on campus, and afterwards there was a marzipan reception because the organizer and viola player had first had marzipan in Lubeck. While the performers were not the professionals at the official festival concerts, they were also really, really good. They performed one piece that I have on a CD, and they were just as good as the performers on the CD. We are so lucky that in this town we have such a vibrant early music scene.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Wonderful Week Off

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I had a great week off. Tuesday Travalon and I went camping at Roche-a-Cri State Park for my half-birthday, which was an adventure. We have both camped many times before, but always with other people who knew what they were doing. This was our first time doing it ourselves, but we figured it out and finally had a roaring campfire to grill burgers over and sing around while I played the ukulele. Only a few other people were at the park, so we felt like we had it to ourselves.

On the 4th of July we drove to Castle Rock County Park and swam in the lake. Warning: there are two Castle Rock County Parks, one in Adams County and one in Juneau County. I’ll save you the time by telling you the Juneau County one is the one you want to go to. We drove to Buckhorn State Park and grilled the rest of our burgers for lunch, then we went to Mill Bluff State Park and swam in the pond there. Back in town we joined Rich and a large crowd of other people for the Patriotic Concert on the Square. No cannons during the 1812 Overture this year. Afterwards Travalon and I went to the East Side Club to watch the Monona fireworks.

Thursday Travalon and I had a relaxing day. We had lunch outside at the Free House and then hiked on Governor’s Island. He went fishing with a buddy back in his home area while I met Light Bright for dinner and then shopping at Goodwill. Thrift store shopping is the way to go: you can buy a whole outfit for $5! Then I went to the new tavern in our neighborhood and sat outside enjoying a craft beer while watching the fireworks from the Mallards game across the street. It was a perfect view.

Friday Travalon had to work. I went to a retirement party at my old job for one of the other people who got a layoff notice. He decided to just retire a year early instead of looking for another position. It was a very quiet day over there, so I spent time talking to Handy Woman. In the evening Travalon and I took the free Middleton Trolley just for fun, but then it passed the Capital Brewery and we saw they had a live band playing, so we got off and listened to them until the trolley returned. That was a super fun and free activity, except that of course we enjoyed a couple of beers.

Saturday Travalon and I went to the Farmers’ Market, but we got there kind of late and some of the vendors were already packing up. Tons of people were still shopping there. Tiffy came to town for the Early Music Festival, and she, the Daughter of Denni, and I had dinner at Himal Chuli’s and then enjoyed the first concert, where they played some Buxtehude. The theme of the festival this year is “Journey to Lubeck,” which early music enthusiasts will probably realize refers to the trip Bach took to study with Buxtehude. Since Buxtehude is a great favorite of mine, I am very excited about this year’s theme.

Yesterday after Mass one of our choir members had brunch for all of us at her beautiful house. Her backyard is particularly wonderful. Travalon and I had promised to bring orange juice, and when we stopped for it, we were ecstatic to find these delicious smoked Gouda crackers we had discovered on our trip down south in March but hadn’t been able to find up here. Then Tiffy and I took a $5 pontoon boat ride on Lake Mendota, and then we had dinner at Roast on State Street before the Early Music concert. This one was Piffaro, the loud band, and while they didn’t do any Buxtehude, they did focus on older influences on Bach, like some old Lutheran hymns that made me very nostalgic for my OTHER choir director’s choir. However, he is retired now so there is no going back.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Limnology Department Open House

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday I had a great time at the Limnology Department's open house. Not only did I get to go into the mysterious building on the lake, but I got free ice cream and a boat ride! On the boat we pulled tiny creatures out of the water and watched them swim around in a jar. Why didn't I major in Limnology?

Saturday morning Travalon had to work, so I met Rich, the Single B-Boy, and another woman I often mention on this blog for coffee. The other woman talked Rich and me into going to the zoo, where we sang with white-handed gibbons and ate Zanzamint ice cream. In the evening Travalon and I went out with some Slow Food folks to enjoy Sustainable Seafood Week. That was fun and delicious. One couple are a real pair of foodies, yet totally down to earth. They are the best.

Yesterday Travalon and I joined most of the rest of his family in celebrating his mother's wedding anniversary, then we went to Spring Green to see the blooming cacti, but not too many of them bloomed this year. We went to evening Mass at St. Paul's and then hung out on the Union Terrace.

I am on vacation all this week - what a rough way to start a new job, ey? Today I hiked on Governor's Island and at Cherokee Marsh, then after dinner Travalon and I went out to play some tennis as we often do, but we were kind of weirded out by a plane circling overhead. It was a big passenger jet plane, and it circled six times before finally flying off. I know we aren't far from the airport, but it is not a terribly busy airport, and we couldn't figure out why a plane would need to circle like that.

This blog is being weird. I was going to post a bunch of photos and a couple of videos, but right now all it is letting me post is this video of my band playing a very boring waltz at Make Music Madison. Enjoy!

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Friday, June 29, 2018

Unicorn Night at the Duck Pond

I forgot to mention that last Thursday Travalon and I went on a Betty Lou luau cruise. The weather was cold and damp, so we didn’t wear Hawaiian shirts, but many of our fellow cruisers did. However, we were the only ones who sat outside because we were dressed for the elements. Why would I want to sit inside on a boat? I want to see the water. The food was delicious, and the hostesses were very attentive, and we enjoyed it immensely despite the weather. It was no worse than the time we were on that fishing boat in Alaska, and that was one of the most wonderful times of my life.

Wednesday evening Travalon and I went to Marshall Park for our health club’s summer picnic. I don’t remember them doing this other years, but I liked it better than their usual St. Patrick’s Day party in an overcrowded restaurant. We got there halfway through, and they were temporarily out of pizza, so I was a bit annoyed, but we had a free drink and then more pizza arrived. Better yet, we got to take a free pontoon boat ride in Bishop’s Bay. Our captain took us by the castle someone built in the Bishop’s Bay subdivision and by the little shanties that I love so much. It was a perfect night for a boat ride. Then several of us watched the full moon rise.

Last night Travalon and I went to a Mallards game. So many people were there that we had to park far away in the mall parking lot, but then a kid with a golf cart who was patrolling the parking lot gave us a ride to the lot entrance. It was Unicorn Night, so we each got a bobble head of Maynard the Mallard riding a unicorn that is pooping out a rainbow. A guy sitting near us had a light-up unicorn horn, and when I asked where he got it, he explained that it was for competing in a silly dance competition in the 7th inning. He said, “Do you have a bobble head? I’ll trade – this is more unusual.” I thought about it, and we had two, so once he was done dancing, he gave me the unicorn horn headband, and I gave him one of our bobble heads. I immediately put the unicorn horn on and loved it, except for the pesky group of kids who kept trying to offer me $3 for it. I was like, “No way, man! I had to trade a bobble head for this!” Seriously, you would think they would at least offer a real amount of money if they were serious. And their mom had one, so why didn’t she just get more for them? The guy who gave it to me said he had also thrown out the first pitch (which we missed because of having to park so far away), and so he had gotten a game ball, but he gave that to a little kid right away. Imagine if I could have gotten a unicorn horn AND a game ball for a bobble head! Best trade ever!

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Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Mysterious Ancient Delivery Van

Yesterday something happened that I found really interesting, and hopefully you, my readers, will find it at least slightly interesting. Many years ago I went to college in the same town where I now reside, and at that time I would occasionally see a bright blue delivery van with a logo of a white cartoon van on the side. On the back was the same cartoon van, but at a rakish tilt so that it looked like it was careening around a corner at high speed. I thought it was very cute but also somewhat puzzling – what was it delivering? Why was the name of the company a secret? I hadn’t seen it in years, but a few years ago I did see it again and was shocked – how could it still be running? Then just yesterday as I was waiting for the bus, I saw it drive by again. This time I noticed that the van logo was actually a book with wheels and a cab, and that there were very faint words on the side of the van, as if they had been painted over. I googled the name and found a Yellow Pages entry for a place that delivers books to schools. I really wanted to take a picture of this van, but the two guys driving it looked at me suspiciously, probably because I reacted with such surprise to seeing them, that I thought the worst thing I could do in that moment was whip out my cell phone and snap a picture. However, now I know the address of the place the van must live most of the time, when it is not out delivering books, so maybe I can sneak by there sometime and take a picture of it while it is parked. Of course, it is in the rough part of town, so that won’t look even more suspicious than if I’d taken a picture of it driving by… You may just have to imagine this van. I probably shouldn’t risk my life getting a picture of it for my 4.5 loyal readers, as much as I want to.

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Monday, June 25, 2018

Lots of Boating

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday I worked, then I drove to the outdoor theater to see a play called The Recruiting Officer with the Dairyman’s Daughter, Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, and Luxuli. My ride back was very uneventful – no wild storms blew up. Travalon was at a concert that was sort of a Grateful Dead one; it was most of the surviving members and a lot of their repertoire. He said I would approve because everyone was wearing tie-dye.

Saturday morning Travalon and I met Rich, Anna Banana II, and another woman for coffee, then Rich left and the rest of us went to the Farmers' Market. I bought smelly cheese, flavored popcorn, and just what I need – another plant. It’s an adorable cactus that looks like a pickle. When we got home, I wasn’t sure where to put it, but then it occurred to me that there was a whole sunny window ledge facing south in the loft. How have I lived in our condo for four years and never thought of this? A very large plant called Jolly Bob is sitting by the window, enjoying the sunshine, but the window ledge was completely unoccupied, so I moved several cacti up there. They like to be ignored, anyway. Travalon and I took a boat ride way back into the marsh, and the water is so high that we didn’t have to worry about the water plants reaching us. In the evening Rich had Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, Kathbert, Travalon, and me over for dinner, and then his Brazilian houseguest returned from a weeklong trip to Buffalo and said, “It’s good to be home!” He really likes Madison. Anna Banana II, Travalon, and I went to the big fireworks show, and where we sat at the edge of Monona Bay had a great view and a festive air, with all the other people around.

Yesterday was a very boat-filled day. After brunch Travalon and I moved my huge plants Greg and Kinetic from Rich’s house to our condo, then we met Hockey Girl for a $5 pontoon boat ride. Our neighbor with a sailboat took us on an evening sail, and the weather was perfect – we went straight across the lake, aiming right for the tallest building on campus. And guess where my new job is? In that building with an 8th story window overlooking the lake. So this new job would be wonderful even if they hadn’t given me a 14% raise. It’s amazing how life can go from “Oh no!” to “Oh yeah!” in just a few short weeks.

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Wednesday, June 20, 2018

Hangin' Out with Anna Banana II

Sorry that I haven’t blogged in so long. I have been so busy now that Anna Banana II is making her annual visit to town. Friday I worked half a day, then Travalon helped me move a giant plant from my office to Richard Bonomo’s house, and then we had lunch at McGee’s and some sour beer at Funk Factory before heading to Spring Green. We hiked at the cactus place and had dinner at an old-fashioned drive-in before I went to a very funny play called Born Yesterday at the outdoor theater with the Dairyman’s Daughter. Travalon went fishing, then we met up after the play and headed home, but suddenly a storm blew up. We hadn’t seen that in the forecast! We made it to Madison, but the roads were so flooded that we had to escape onto back roads and ended up spending the night at Rich’s.

Saturday Travalon and I had a leisurely brunch at the Lakeside Café, out on the balcony, while the weather was beautiful. It quickly got very hot, so when we headed to Anna Banana II’s cottage on Lake Ripley to join her and Jilly Moose for lunch, we just sat inside. Eventually Rich, Luxuli, and Prairie Man joined us, then Travalon and I had to leave for the Doobie Brothers and Steely Dan concert at Breese Stevens Field. That was excellent, although Travalon was a bit bummed that Steely Dan did not do his favorite song, “Deacon Blues.” They did do mine, “Kid Charlemagne.” He bought me a concert T-shirt that says “Hey 19” on the back. What color is it? Deacon Blue, of course!

Sunday after Mass Travalon and I went to Bear N Bottle for brunch, then we met Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, and Rich for a $5 pontoon boat ride on Lake Mendota. It was so wonderfully breezy on the lake, but so hot once we got back to land! We went to Salmo Pond and swam in the very cold water, then we went to Rich’s, where he grilled burgers and we also had leftovers from the party the day before. Kathbert also joined us.

Monday after work I met the other Rosary Ladies at Café Porta Alba for dinner, then we went to see The Incredibles 2, which was really good. For the adults, it had an interesting commentary on gender role reversals and expectations. I highly recommend it.

Yesterday I took the day off of work, and Travalon, Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, and I drove to Lambeau Field, where we stopped at the Packer Pro Shop. We drove to Sturgeon Bay and took a boat ride run by a young, energetic couple – the wife even dressed up as a Dalmatian at one point, and she let us use the fire hose on the old firefighting boat and hosted a limbo contest for the kids. Then we went hiking at Whitefish Dunes State Park, and we returned to Lambeau for dinner at 1919. We stopped at Miracle Mile in Fond du Lac to buy lottery tickets, since the jackpot was up to $147 million, and we got our tickets just in time for the drawing. However, we didn’t win anything so today I am back at work for three more days. Monday I start my new job!

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