Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Wedding Dance Class

Saturday was a gorgeous day, so Travalon and I drove to Mineral Point and walked on the bike path. It’s actually an old railroad bed, and ATVs are allowed to drive on it, so we had to keep watching out for those. We took Rodney the Poodle on a long walk before having lunch at the local brewpub, where they have the best walnut burgers and corn soufflés. (You get one side with the burger, so I always get the soufflé.) Travalon had the pesto salmon sandwich, which was also really tasty, and the brewpub is already serving up their summer shandy, a light beer with lemonade, so that’s what we had to drink. Then we took a walk downtown and stopped into the Grey Dog Café for some iced coffee, in my case, or soda in Travalon’s case. Then we drove to New Glarus and walked around the downtown there. We couldn’t really go into any stores with Rodney, so we sat outside at Puempel’s (pronounced “pimples,” I kid you not) and watched all the tourists walking around. There were a surprising number from other countries. I wonder if they think New Glarus is typical of Wisconsin? It’s probably not typical of Switzerland, either, but that’s how I always think of it.

Sunday Travalon suggested we take a dance class to prepare for our wedding, so off to the Union we went. There were plenty of other couples in the class, although Travalon said that online it looked like there was still a lot of room available. The perky instructor taught us the foxtrot (which should work well for our first dance), the waltz, and the two-step. All simple dances, so hopefully we can get the hang of them well enough to not totally embarrass ourselves on the dance floor. I used to be in the University ballroom dance club, but that was years ago, and this may have been Travalon’s first dance class ever. At least nobody expects us to do a choreographed routine…

Monday and Tuesday I had a cold and slept in instead of going to UGGH Club, but today I went with my iPod, in case the others couldn’t make it. I did not have enough energy to do 30 minutes on the elliptical, so I cut it short at 20, plus the ear buds kept falling out of my ears. How do people keep them in? Is there some secret I’m not privy to? At home I listen to the iPod with big old skool headphones that sound glorious. The sound coming from the ear buds was pathetic, when they were even in my ears. So much for exercising with the iPod, unless I work up the nerve to wear the big old headphones to UGGH Club. Maybe it’s so early in the morning that nobody will notice how uncool they are.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, April 29, 2014

Kids and Dogs: A Winning Combination

The other day Travalon, Rodney, and I went to the house of the married B-Boy and Mo-Girl. Their two-year-old daughter, an unusually gentle toddler, is obsessed with dogs right now, and she wanted to meet Rodney. He was not a disappointment either, being just the right size for her to lead around as she commanded him, “Doggy, come!” He is likewise a gentle soul, so the meeting was a happy one, and Travalon and I imagined the little girl talking nonstop about the “doggy” all the next day. It was cute overload watching these two little creatures interact. Kids and dogs belong together like peanut butter and jelly! Mo-Girl says her sister has a dog, but it is an enormous beast. We’ll see if the tiny child likes that dog as well as she liked Rodney…

Famous Hat

Monday, April 28, 2014

Another Pictorial Post

Here is a very random selection of photos for your viewing pleasure. First is the BonomOlympics cake, which isn't much to look at, but everyone raved about the way it tasted.

Next is the inside of Gesu in Milwaukee.

Why is my closet staring at me like that?

I love this sign inside of the Village Green Tavern.

What flavor are these chips? I'm just not sure…

This is a very funny-looking baby carrot.

What a great name for a bar!

This little patch of snow looks kind of like a turtle. It was still around on the 11th of April, up at Holy Hill.

This photo sums up my tropical wedding shower.

This is the pretty little tin my chocolate friend came in.

And, according to the plants, it's both Christmas and Easter at Richard Bonomo's house!

Famous Hat

Thursday, April 24, 2014

Random Observations

How can one really be certain a possum is dead? Yesterday I saw one that appeared dead, but then it occurred to me – the thing could have just been “playing possum.” I wasn’t about to touch it, because if it was dead, then ewww, and if it was still alive, what if it bit me? I wasn’t about to hold a mirror in front of its nose to check for breath, either. There were no bugs on it, and it didn’t smell, but ultimately I really cannot answer the question of whether it was alive or dead. Put it in a box and call it Schroedinger’s Possum.

Isn’t it ironic that church choir members sing the word “Alleluia” the most during Lent? That is when we are preparing for Easter, after all. My OTHER choir director said he had some kids protest working on Easter songs during Lent for that very reason, and Richard Bonomo said he heard of a choir director who made his choir members sing “watermelon” or something like that instead of “Alleluia” during Lent. We all wondered if you always practice a song with “watermelon,” would you really remember to sing “Alleluia” instead when you finally perform it? And how awesome would Handel’s “Watermelon Chorus” be? “For he’ll spit seeds forever and ever! Juice of juice! And rind of rinds! Watermelon! Watermelon! Wa-Ter-Me-Lon!"

This morning after UGGH Club, Luxuli and I went to a coffee house for a quick bite of breakfast. I don’t have any random observations about that, but it was a most enjoyable start to the day. Soon Travalon and I will go to our new condo’s inspection, so here’s hoping everything works out well!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Fully Functional Rosary

Three years ago I wrote a blog post about the rosaries Jilly Moose and I made from beads we got at the bead show, and I noted that we prayed with them, so they were fully functional rosaries. Lute Player left a comment about how I wouldn’t know if the rosaries were *fully* functional until my prayers came true, and I said: Just wait until I win the lottery, get my dream job, marry some minor royalty, and move to a tropical island, and then you will know how functional my rosary is! So let’s examine those prayers:

Winning the lottery: When the Mega Millions jackpot was like $40 million, I bought a ticket for $2. And guess what? I won $2! Yes, I won the lottery!

Getting my dream job: I always wanted to work in publishing and have a job I didn’t need to explain. Now I work at a small University press as a bookkeeper, and not only do people know what that is, but the word totally rocks because it has three double letters in a row.

Marrying royalty: I am marrying a prince in less than a month. What country is Travalon prince of, you may ask, and I’d say he’s actually a king – the King of Romance!

Moving to a tropical island: Travalon and I do plan to move somewhere warm at some point. He is thinking Florida, so if we move to one of the Keys, that is totally a tropical island.

Verdict: my rosary appears to be fully functional.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, April 22, 2014


Last night Richard Bonomo had Kathbert, Luxuli, Prairie Man, and me over for some Easter leftovers, including the lamb cake we never got to on Sunday because of all the other desserts. Somehow the topic came up again of whether Luxuli is demure. She says on the East Coast she was considered demure, but compared to us Midwestern women, not so much. She and Kathbert were joking about who is more demure (neither Kathbert nor I would describe ourselves that way), and Prairie Man said, “Why don’t you have a demure-off?” I thought that would make an excellent blog topic.

Google defines demure as “reserved, modest, and shy,” and says it pertains only to women. Why can’t men be demure? I have certainly known men who were reserved, modest, and shy. But we can’t argue with Google, so this contest is only open to women. The rules are simple:

In the comments, write a paragraph describing the chocolate friend I received at my wedding shower. You must avoid using any technical terms or any slang ones. You must blush as you write. Whoever can write the most modest description from which someone can actually figure out what my chocolate friend looks like will win the contest. And what will she win? Not my chocolate friend – that has already been consumed in a most undemure way by Handy Woman and me. How about a lace handkerchief? Wouldn’t that be good and demure? Bonus points if you can describe the demure reaction you would have had if you had received my chocolate friend as a gift yourself. If, like Luxuli, you don’t have a Google identity to post comments, you can email your entry to me and I will post it for you. Good luck, my demure demoiselles! 

Famous Hat

Monday, April 21, 2014

A Famous Hat Easter

Sorry for my silence on Friday, but most of the day I was either in church or sitting by Kettle Pond, listening to the frogs sing. That may not be the most religious activity, but it is certainly meditative and so seems appropriate for Good Friday. After singing with the OTHER choir at the Lutheran church, Kathbert and I stopped by Richard Bonomo’s house, where Catzookz and Twins Fan were hanging out, so we had nerdy conversation – the best kind!

Saturday morning I had an appointment for yet another fitting for my wedding dress. As I may have mentioned, they did find it in a smaller size, but now I’ve gained girth in my shoulders and back – from working out? – so they have to let it out a little bit. Here I thought going to UGGH Club every morning would make me slimmer! Will I ever fit perfectly into this dress?? Then Travalon came up, and we had seafood for lunch since it was sort of still Lent. I’m never sure what category Holy Saturday fits into – it’s kind of like a liturgical No Man’s Land. It was a beautiful day, so we went for a long walk on the Lakeshore Path, and then we had dinner at Mia Za on State Street. We ran out of time for me to go home and change before the Vigil Mass, so I went to it in blue jeans. People really dressed up at St. Patrick’s, and just when I thought nobody else would be that tacky, I saw another woman in blue jeans, so then I didn’t feel so bad. We were at the end of the crowd going into the church after the lighting of the fire out front, so we missed part of the Exultet. Oh well, it is the same every year. The Mass was almost three hours long, including a number of baptisms and confirmations, then afterwards we stopped by the Essen Haus for a quick beer and then joined Rich in our annual tradition of having a gyro to celebrate Easter.

Rich had put in a call with my guardian angel, so yesterday I was yanked out of a deep sleep in time to get to church for choir warm-up, but then I started sneezing like crazy and waited to see if it were allergies and would abate with an antihistamine, or if it were the start of a virus. I did start to feel a little better, so I went to Easter morning Mass but did skip the OTHER church this year. Then I helped Rich with some cleaning chores before he had a bunch of people over for Easter dinner. Travalon came to have lamb for dinner, after having duck for lunch with his mother. Now that’s the way to celebrate the end of Lent! There were fifteen people at Rich’s house, including the usual suspects like Kathbert, Luxuli, and Prairie Man, and a graduate student in music education who told Rich as she was leaving that she liked our crowd because she didn’t have to pretend to be normal around us. We also had four desserts: Lent is officially over! Ma and Pa Hat called and told us about their dinner, including the tablecloth Grandma Hat crocheted just after she had Ma Hat. I said I didn’t remember that tablecloth, and Ma Hat said they rarely use it, only for special occasions. Guess I’ve never been around for a special enough occasion. I left just after nine – had to get enough rest to go to UGGH Club in the morning! Unfortunately, that did not end with Lent.

Famous Hat

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Accepted Offer

Saturday Travalon, Tiffy, and I went to look at a condo on the north side of the lake. It comes with its own boat slip and was surprisingly affordable for something in that neighborhood. I had really wanted to see it because it has a loft, which was every bit as cool as it had looked online, even if Tiffy and Travalon didn’t care for the spiral staircase. It also has a solarium – perfect for Plant World! Travalon could have his man cave in the loft or in the second bedroom. There is a screened-in porch that would be lovely on summer evenings, since it overlooks a bit of a marsh. I thought how wonderful it would be, awakening to the sounds of the birds in the marsh, and Travalon agreed that it was cooler than the four-bedroom condo we had looked at on the west side. Then Richard Bonomo called, so I told him to stop by, and he looked at the condo. Did I mention it has two and a half bathrooms, including a hot tub? We also called OK Cap, who lives less than a block away, and she came over too. Then Jilly Moose joined us for dinner at the Nau-ti-gal, and Travalon noted that they made an outstanding seven and seven, and he could indulge in one and then walk half a block home if we lived there. The only downside was the one-car garage, as compared to the west side condo.

Yesterday we submitted an offer and figured we wouldn’t hear anything until today, so we felt like little kids on Christmas Eve: “Why can’t tomorrow come faster?” I took half a day off of work, and we went to apply for our marriage license and then had lunch at a little Italian bistro just off the Square. After that we went back to the neighborhood (can it be called “maritime” if it’s beside the lake and not the ocean?) and looked around a bit, thinking what a great place it would be to live. It would certainly be a lovelier place to walk Rodney the Poodle than the busy road the other condo was on. We thought how great it would be to get a canoe and go canoeing across the lake. Then we took care of some business, meeting with the cake guy to give him a final count, and going to David’s Jamaican for some dinner and to give them a final count. While we were there, our realtor emailed us that our offer had been accepted! They hadn’t even counter-offered! So soon we will be living by the lake.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Semantic Confusion

This morning, as usual for a Wednesday, Richard Bonomo and I brought stuff to the gym to shower after our UGGH workout. For whatever reason, I always get changed first and have to wait for Rich. This morning Prairie Man asked me, after I emerged from the women’s locker room, “How was your shower?” I said okay, but he looked surprised, so I added that I hadn’t washed my hair. Then he just looked confused. He said, “How was the food?” so then I was really confused because of course there was no food in the locker room. He said, “Wasn’t it at Macha Tea House?” and then I realized DUH, he was talking about my WEDDING shower, not the shower I had just taken in the locker room. That’s what happens when people try to converse pre-coffee.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Speeding Ticket

Friday around noon I was driving down the Beltline when suddenly a state trooper pulled up behind me with flashing lights. When I pulled over, he asked me why he had pulled me over, and I said I wasn’t sure. After all, if it were for speeding, there were plenty of people going a lot faster than I was. He asked to see my license and my proof of insurance, and then he gave me my first-ever speeding ticket. Apparently he thought I wouldn’t be insured, because he noted with great disappointment that if I hadn’t had insurance, he could have written me another big ticket. That made me wonder if he had profiled me, since Erin Caitlyn O’Honda is getting pretty old and beat up. Maybe this state trooper thinks that anyone driving a hooptie must be uninsured.

I was very bummed about my first moving violation ever, but Travalon and his nephew (who wants me to refer to him as the 42nd Doctor) said it’s no big deal – you just go to traffic court and they will knock a few points off and reduce your fine just for showing up. They said you usually get fined three points for speeding, but I got fined four points, meaning I’m a third of the way to losing my license. Tiffy said she had tried going to traffic court with less success. Of course the date they scheduled me for traffic court is right in the middle of my honeymoon, so I called to see if they could reschedule it. They told me it’s too early to reschedule it, my ticket isn’t even in the system yet, but I could email them to reschedule it. So I emailed them and got an email acknowledging receipt of my email. Whether I can get a court date while I’m in the country is still an open question.

I tried to look on the bright side: after almost twenty years of driving, only getting one ticket isn’t so bad. Then several friends told me they have never gotten tickets, including one who actually got a letter from the Department of Transportation that people were complaining about her driving. If she has thus far eluded a moving violation, how did I succumb? From now on, you will easily be able to spot me on the Beltline – I’ll be the only one actually going 55 miles per hour.

Famous Hat

Monday, April 14, 2014

Tropical Shower

Yesterday was my bridal shower, and it was so much fun! It was at Macha Tea House, and lots of ladies attended, wearing Hawaiian shirts and colorful leis which they then put around my neck. (I will post a photo at some point.) As Catzookz said, “Now you’re finally getting lei’d!” Light Bright and Tiffy organized the whole thing, and Jilly Moose took photos. Hardingfele gave me cookie sheets, OK Cap gave me a frame and coasters, Tiffy gave me a cake carrier, a friend who does not have a name on this blog but calls herself the Dairyman’s Daughter gave me a frame and a pillow Travalon put on our registry, Light Bright gave me thank you cards (what a brilliant idea!), and Mo-Girl gave me macadamia nuts and a beautiful acacia wood bowl to serve them in. Jilly Moose and Luxuli gave me luggage, and Kathbert and Catzookz gave me the “cocktail” gift: martini glasses, coasters of composers (all Baroque except for Brahms, how random), cocktail umbrellas, palm tree stir sticks, and a book called Tequila Mockingbird that Kathbert had learned about on public radio. It has cocktails based on great literary works, so one is called “The Confederacy of Ounces” (instead of Dunces) and I can’t remember any others offhand, but they were all quite clever. This was all in a basket which Kathbert had on the back of her bike, then she forgot it was there and fell over it while dismounting, scraping her cheek badly. Always one for tact, Hardingfele took one look at her and said, “You look awful!”

Then there was the gift from Handy Woman and another coworker: gift cards to Orange Tree Imports and Macha Tea House, and what Light Bright euphemistically labeled “chocolate friend” on the gift list she kept for me. It was about eight inches long, made of Belgian chocolate, and what can I say? Nobody in the room that afternoon had one. Of course I opened this gift first. Handy Woman had received it as a birthday present, so she had shown it to me back then, and I remembered it being larger. When I opened it yesterday, my first words were, “I thought it was bigger than this!” which set all the girls howling. Nobody seemed offended, and Luxuli later told me she was glad someone gave me a naughty gift! I thought maybe we could eat it right then, but after all the scones and cupcakes and little sandwiches, we were too full.

Then, to my surprise, my OTHER choir director and a bass from that choir crashed our party – they hadn’t even known we would be there! We tried to get them to take some leftover food, but they had their own, so I brought it to Richard Bonomo’s house. Somehow Rich found out about my chocolate friend (when I said, “I don’t know how it came up!” Kathbert practically snorted tea out of her nose), and he said he wanted to try it, but I don’t think he quite understood until we said, “It’s very anatomically correct,” and then he was not interested. He claims (and Luxuli seconds this) that I called it a “woman’s helper” when trying to describe it, but I don’t remember using that phrasing, and Kathbert agreed that no woman would call it a “helper.” We kept laughing about it, which was bad because laughing hurt Kathbert’s sore face, but we couldn’t stop making terrible innuendos.

Today my boss was out sick, and my coworker who would have complained was out, so I brought my chocolate friend to share with Handy Woman and my gay coworker. He said he doesn’t like chocolate, so I figured Handy Woman and I could have some now and save the rest for my bachelorette party, but when I cut into it, it was hollow! We weren’t expecting that. Good thing we didn’t try to eat it at my shower – each lady would have just gotten a tiny bite! Handy Woman and I finished it off, which was a very un-Lenten thing to do, but they say you only have a finite amount of willpower, and I used my allotment up today just getting up and going to the UGGH Club. We thought it was so much fun being naughty at work like that, eating my chocolate friend. It came in a pretty little tin that looks like a house, so nobody suspected a thing.

Famous Hat

Friday, April 11, 2014

Tons of Tulle

Last night Light Bright and I went to a party rental place to see about renting some table linens. They did have them in the sizes we needed, and even in a color that goes with my color scheme. They also have a lot of other random stuff you can rent, so we looked through a theme book to get some ideas. Then we drove to the fabric store and bought 40 yards of tulle to decorate the reception hall. The fabric store actually has a whole section dedicated to weddings, so we bought some white lights there to hang with the tulle, and we found a very cute ring pillow for the ring bearer to carry. (She is the ten-year-old daughter of Travalon’s good friend.) Light Bright keeps reminding me that I wanted to stick to a strict budget for decorating, and she was busy adding up numbers and telling me how we’re doing. The tulle and lights were very reasonable, and we even have hopes of selling the tulle on Craig’s List afterwards. The big question now is whether the florist can meet my budget. She suggested something kind of extravagant (for a very extravagant price) for each table in the reception hall; I countered with asking what she could do for what I would like to spend. So far I haven’t heard from her, so she is either trying to think of something or was so insulted that she isn’t talking to me… or she’s just really busy. I was perfectly happy with what she suggested for the church and bouquets and such. Hopefully she will still do this even if we can’t come to an agreement on the reception hall flowers and I just buy some plants from the grocery store. That should keep me within my budget.

Famous Hat

Thursday, April 10, 2014

The UGGH Club

Luxuli has a new name for our early-morning workouts: Unearthly Gym Gyrations & Horrors (UGGH). And what a fitting name it is! This morning my alarm yanked me out of a dream about an old friend who doesn’t really exist but is a combination of a girl I played with in my preschool years and one who was in my sixth grade class, neither of whom I have seen in decades. I was telling Light Bright that she never seemed to age, she looked just the same as when we were four…and then the alarm went off. Thursday being our “lift to failure” day, we tried to lift the heaviest weights we could, but both Richard Bonomo and I noticed we were a little wimpy today. Lack of sleep? That’s what he attributes it to. I am still not seeing any difference in the numbers on the scale, but possibly my clothes are fitting a little more loosely. Then again, that could just be wishful thinking. 

Today Miss Heartsong posted a story on MySpace about a family who gave up sugar for a year, but I haven’t even been able to successfully give it up for Lent, and that might be part of the problem. The writer of the story said that she found sugar in all sorts of products, so there’s another reason to lay off the processed foods. I do not even have that much of a sweet tooth, but Monday my boss had a birthday, so we had to have cake, and of course there were leftovers that couldn’t go to waste… So I keep getting up and going to the UGGH Club. Maybe someday it will seem easier… 

Famous Hat

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Party at Rich's without Him

Today someone was asking me how things are going, and I said, “Well, but I’m less interesting than I used to be.” This person doubted that, so I began to wonder: am I really less interesting than in the past, or am I just less interested in myself? The latter seems very possible, except that if you go back and read my old blog posts (as you can easily do), the ones from a few years back often seem very funny and creative, while my recent ones are all about how I worked out with Luxuli (or without her) and other mundane recountings of my life. Part of this is that I feel like people want to read about themselves, so I mention others more often instead of just ruminating on my deep thoughts, and part of it is that my “deep” thoughts don’t seem nearly as profound anymore. In that spirit, I will stop going on about this possibly deep subject and will blog about the accidental “party at Rich’s” last night.

Travalon and I are, as my readers are undoubtedly aware, in the process of looking for a new home, and we expected to hear from the realtor yesterday. After meeting with the reception hall person, and having Light Bright toss out some ideas for decorating, we went to Mount Horeb for dinner and then to Richard Bonomo’s house to check our email on Rich’s computer Aquinas. There was no message from the realtor, so we figured we would give her until nine to contact us. Rich was not there, since he was at a parish function. Suddenly my phone rang, and it was Luxuli, wondering what we were up to. She stopped by Rich’s house too, and we started looking at more homes for sale on Aquinas. Then the doorbell rang, and we wondered if it was Rich, being silly – “Let me into my house!” – but in fact it was Kathbert, returning some chant books she had borrowed for a funeral the day before. (She not only sings at weddings, like mine and Anna Banana II’s, but also funerals, if you were interested in booking her.) She was surprised at first, thinking Rich was having a party without her, but then we explained that he wasn’t even there, and none of this had been planned. So we all sat talking until long after nine, and still there was no sign of Rich, so Luxuli called him. He was still a good fifteen minutes away by bike, his preferred mode of transportation, but what we didn’t realize is that he was actually in the Bonomobile. We told him we couldn’t wait around (have to get up early to work out, don’t you know), and he said he passed us as we were turning out of his street, but we didn’t even notice since we expected him to be on his bicycle, and still some distance away. So that is how Rich missed the party at his own house last night.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Baking a Cake for the Boss

My coworker Handy Woman is an incredible baker, and she usually makes the treats for office birthdays, but she was intrigued by my description of black magic cake. “You’ll have to make that for the next birthday,” she said, so we looked at the calendar and determined that the next office birthday was our boss’s. It didn’t sound like a bad idea two months ago, but as the day grew closer, I started to get kind of freaked out about baking a cake for my own boss. Now I make black magic cakes all the time, in all sorts of weird permutations (like pennies, pigs, and Russian Orthodox churches), but always for close friends. They don’t mind if my pig is too cute to eat, my portrait of Abe Lincoln is way too cartoonish, and my Cyrillic alphabet contains suspect letters like theta. They are especially forgiving of my terrible frosting jobs… but what would my coworkers think? What would my BOSS think??

Richard Bonomo reminded me that it’s almost impossible to screw up a black magic cake, since it’s a very simple recipe. Still, mine often have structural integrity problems that my friends happily overlook, as long as the cake tastes good. This cake came out in fairly good shape, but then I made the frosting, stirring it by hand… and the butter didn’t get blended in well enough so there were white chunks showing in the chocolate frosting. Ugh! It was such an ugly cake! I brought it to work yesterday anyway, and just before lunch we all gathered around it, and I sang “Happy Birthday” in Basque to my boss. He is a very easygoing guy, and he didn’t seem worked up about the ugly cake. I was afraid Handy Woman would be underwhelmed, but she just seemed happy I made it from scratch and not a mix. Everyone seemed to enjoy the cake, so maybe my fears were unfounded. Maybe people really don’t care about how amateurish a cake looks, as long as it tastes wonderful… and black magic cake always does. Unless you don’t like coffee – I’ve been told by coffee haters that they can taste it and it ruins the flavor for them. Fortunately, all my coworkers are coffee fiends so we all love black magic cake.

Famous Hat

Monday, April 7, 2014

Making It to the Final Four

Saturday morning I had to get up almost as early as on weekdays to get ready for my band’s gig. Hardingfele and I stopped for coffee at Moka, where she had a coupon for one free drink, and then we crowded into a car with most of the rest of our bandmates and drove to Poynette to play at the Maple Syrup Days at the Mackenzie Center. We played for three hours (minus a short break to eat pancakes) and only made $16 apiece, so it wasn’t the most cost-effective gig, but it was still fun. Lots of little kids danced around to our music, and quite a few adults took pictures (and maybe videos) of us. Hardingfele had to be back in town by one to take Rockstar Tailor to a birthday party, and I was meeting Travalon at one, but somehow our ride back took a lot longer than our ride there, and we didn’t get back into town until almost 1:30. Travalon and I just had time to make it to a condo showing at two; the condo was beautiful, but the bylaws specifically forbid keeping rabbits as pets. What to do? I hate to give up Cashmere at her advanced age, even if she isn’t the friendliest bunny, so we’re going to see if the condo association would make an exception for one elderly rabbit.

In the evening Travalon and Prairie Man went to watch the first Final Four game, but Luxuli and I didn’t really care about that game, so we went on a long walk downtown, looking at condos for sale. We didn’t go inside any of them, but there are some that look very nice from the outside. Then Luxuli found a bunch of great condos online, so hopefully Travalon and I will get to check those out too. We ladies joined the menfolk at Diego’s for the second game, since the Badgers were playing Kentucky. Downtown was a real party atmosphere, and one house had a huge banner outside of it that said: “Stop incest! Beat Kentucky!” The players for Kentucky are all freshman, and two of them are identical twins. I hoped that the Badgers’ greater experience would help them out, and it was a close, exciting game, but in the end the Badgers lost by one point. What a heartbreaker! I didn’t think I cared about basketball at all, but it was kind of fun to watch. The other people at Diego’s were all twenty somethings, so we felt very old. They were really loud and drinking lots of “Badger shots,” which have tequila and Red Bull, and giant margaritas for at least four people. We wondered how crazy things would get if the Badgers won, but since they didn’t, the college kids were subdued as they trailed out of the bar. A sad ending, but a great season nonetheless.

Famous Hat

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Mandy Fan Club

Last night I had both band and choir practice, because our band has a gig tomorrow and that’s when everyone could get together. At choir practice at the OTHER church, I started reflecting on music’s place in my life. For example, I like to sing harmony, so then why am I a first soprano in that choir? Kathbert says it is because I can hit a high A reliably. Then I thought about how I went from making up harmonies on the mandolin to just playing the chords, which happened around the same time my blog became less creative. Am I just lazier now and would rather play some chords already written out for me rather than invent a harmony? Am I more humble now and would rather be in the background? Did my change in playing habits affect my perception of myself as less important, or did the change in perception come first and I adapted my playing to match my new self-perception? If I play the violin more, will I return to feeling more self-important? After all, there are plenty of jokes about violinists’ big egos but none (that I know of anyway) about mandolinists’ big egos. Come to think of it, I don’t know any mandolin player jokes, but plenty of banjo player ones. The fun thing about playing the mandolin, especially my antique tater-bug mando (or, more elegantly, my Neapolitan style mandolin), is that people wonder what it is and they always come up after gigs to ask me questions: What is that instrument? Where did you get it? (It’s a family heirloom.) Is it hard to play? (No.) Are you the one doing the fancy trills? (Yes.) It’s like having groupies, only they aren’t really my groupies since they are more interested in the instrument. It’s like my mandolin has its own fan club! I call her Mandy, but people say that is a silly thing to call such a beautiful old instrument. Still, doesn’t the Mandy Fan Club have a nice ring to it?

Famous Hat

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Priestly Interrogation

Last night Travalon and I met with the priest who is marrying us, and he asked us – separately – a bunch of questions such as, “Have you been abducted or in any other way forced to participate in this marriage?” and, “Did you in any way contribute to the death of a former spouse?” When I asked the priest if he had ever had anyone say yes to any of these questions, he said just once, a young man who had knocked up his girlfriend answered that he was feeling forced into the marriage, so the priest refused to marry them. He thinks they went elsewhere and gave another priest a different answer. Apparently Travalon and I gave the correct answers, because our wedding is still on. We also planned the ceremony, like how Cecil Markovitch will escort Ma Hat to her seat just before the procession begins, and how the Rosary Ladies will be doing the readings and the Prayers of the Faithful. What surprises me is how many people are planning to come to the wedding but not the reception. Is everyone busy that day, or do people just prefer the ceremony to the party? I’d been afraid it would be a lot of people doing the opposite, since that’s what you always hear about. And I really haven’t heard from my relatives, other than one uncle, so will there be any Hat family at this wedding?  Ma and Pa Hat will be there, and Pa Hat will be in a kilt – the Hat family tartan! Maybe I should find a bagpiper…

Famous Hat

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Midweek Breakfast

I love our midweek breakfasts at Jerkins. Richard Bonomo and I started going to breakfast there on Wednesdays because Travalon generally picks me up from work, so Rich drops me off at work on his way home from the health club. Since I don’t have a chance to eat breakfast at home (my oh-so-exciting oatmeal and yogurt), we go to Jerkins, which is right on the way and has a Fit Menu, as I have mentioned before. This morning Luxuli and Prairie Man joined us, and it almost felt like a Sunday morning brunch, only much earlier. Luxuli says she gets so much done when her morning starts so early. I don’t notice getting any more done than before I got up at 5:30, but a leisurely breakfast on a weekday is a fun luxury. It almost feels like a day off without having to take a vacation day. Of course I have coffee at Jerkins, and then I have more at work, so I was really wired for all my month-end reconciliation today. Nobody was here when I arrived at work, so I could have had a really leisurely breakfast, and who would have known? That’s OK, I had a lot of stuff to do, and our breakfast was relaxing enough. It’s a wonderful way to follow up a tough workout. (Yes, Hardingfele, today I did the Intermediate setting at Level 12 on the elliptical machine.) The only downside to the whole thing is that my reusable 20% off coupon at Jerkins will expire on Tax Day, so then we’ll have to go back to paying full price. At least we’ve gotten a lot of mileage out of it!

Famous Hat 

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

No More Early Morning Workouts

I am so done with exercising. People say I look fitter, but I don’t see any change, nor does the scale. This morning I said, “Forget it!” and slept in until 8:00 am, then I had a huge breakfast at Jerkins of all the bad stuff on the menu. And it was so wonderful that I’m going to do it again tomorrow, and the day after that, and the day after that, until Lent is over and I can REALLY go nuts. And guess what else? APRIL FOOLS!!! I arrived at the health club today right after Luxuli, and we both worked out really hard. We did weights, and then Richard Bonomo had suggested doing some aerobics if we had time, so we did the ellipticals at Level 20, the highest one. My breakfast was oatmeal and lowfat yogurt, and my lunch was broccoli and carrots with hummus, with raw almonds for a snack. OK, so the numbers on the scale aren’t moving much, but soon I’ll be able to bench press Richard Bonomo.

Famous Hat