Friday, November 28, 2014

A Failure of Empathy

Unless you have been living under a rock, you have probably heard something about the issues in Ferguson, Missouri, where a white police officer shot and killed an unarmed black teenager. The story seems to have brought out a really racist edge in some people, which in my opinion stems from a total lack of empathy, or being able to put yourself in the place of someone else. I am not justifying the looters, who are just opportunistic thugs, but if you can’t understand the anger of the black community then try to imagine you are a person with no power. Everywhere you go, you have to prove yourself to be worthy of the same consideration as other people who have the power and don’t have to prove themselves. So, for example, you could be walking down the street and a person in power could stop you and demand to know what you are doing, and he could even shoot you and get away with it because you are assumed to be an aggressor. Say this happens all the time, wouldn’t you be angry at the group that has the power and assumes the worst about you? Then it becomes a vicious cycle, because people who feel like the game is rigged against them stop playing by the rules, and then the people who rigged the game say, “See? I told you they were no good!”

The most vivid experience I had of being an oppressor was when I was twelve and was playing Monopoly with a friend who was not very good at math. I kept giving her less money and myself more money than the rules dictated, and she couldn’t figure out why I was doing so much better than she was. Of course she lost interest in the game, and there was some part of me (I guess my conscience) that said, “Psst! You are being a tremendous jerk!” so we stopped playing Monopoly and went on to do something else. But imagine if it had been something more than a game, and she couldn’t have said, “I’m going to go home if we keep playing this stupid game!” What if she hadn’t had a way to get out of my clutches, and I hadn’t cared about how evil I was being? What I am trying to say is that we who are in power in this country (whites but especially wealthy whites) have to take a look at how we are running the system and ask ourselves if we are really being fair. Of course the playing field looks even to someone who is white, male, above average in height and intelligence, and good-looking to boot. They don’t even see how much further ahead they have started than the rest of us, and I would say that in this country being black is the biggest disadvantage you can have. That is just not fair. When the game really is played with the same rules applied to everyone, then you can say people who refuse to play by the rules are worthy of disdain. But you cannot expect people to abide by the rules when they can see perfectly well that those rules are applied differently to them than to other people. 

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Happy Thanksgiving!

Wishing all my readers (all 5.6 of you) a Happy Thanksgiving! Tomorrow we will have an early dinner (or, as I like to call it, “lunch”) at my mother-in-law’s house at 11:30. She requested that Travalon and I bring a dessert, so tonight I will make a pumpkin pie from an actual pumpkin. Then in the afternoon we will be going to Richard Bonomo’s house, where I have provided the turkey but Rich will cook it. No need to bring a dessert to that gathering; one of the regulars always brings several, and his are renowned for their deliciousness. The turkey I acquired is from the university’s Poultry Club, so it may not have been the most cost-effective bird on the market, but at least the money is going to a good cause. I always bring the turkey, ever since eons ago when I worked in the private sector and they gave us a free one every year. Being a fundamentally lazy person, I am happy to acquire a turkey for the group as long as I am not required to do anything to it other than consume it. True story: one year back in graduate school I invited Ma and Pa Hat to my apartment, hoping to learn from Ma Hat how to prepare the turkey. She basically shooed me out of the kitchen, so that gives you some idea of how handy I am in that room of the house. Fortunately I now have a wonderful husband to cook me dinner, although I actually did make dinner for us last Thursday, and we survived the experience. I made chicken, potatoes, and kale with cheese on it.

Perhaps it’s best that tomorrow is a holiday, so that I won’t have time to look at MyFace. I just posted a couple of perhaps controversial things on there, a post about how Madison’s finest seem to pull over people for being black 100% of the time, judging by my personal observations, and then a reposting of Stephen Colbert saying how his great-grandfather didn’t come from Ireland to live in a country overrun by immigrants. I added that we could help solve the illegal immigration problem by making it not so nearly impossible to be a legal immigrant. It will be interesting to see what kind of comments I get! Hopefully Madison’s finest don’t take me to court, like the police did to a guy in a smaller town around here for posting his observations of their racism on MyFace. He did win that case, so I probably would too – we do have freedom of speech in this country – but it will be interesting to see if the cops harass me for stating a simple observation made over the last six months.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Bogus Journal Accepts "Appropriate" Article

Yesterday my boss sent us all this link to a story about a paper accepted for publication in an open-access journal. For those of you who do not deal with academic journals regularly (unlike Lute Player, who has already presented about this article to her students), there are a whole bunch of them out there with technical-sounding names that will publish anything for a fee. For example, the journal in this story is called International Journal of Advanced Computer Technology, and they solicited the "author" (who did not actually write the submitted paper) to submit a paper. The paper submitted is called “Get Me Off Your F—king Mailing List,” and the body of the text is simply that same phrase, over and over. There are two graphs labeled with the same statement (but – and this is a big failing for an academic paper – not referenced in the body of the text), and there are two references. The person who submitted this paper was surprised enough to have it accepted for publication, but he was even more surprised by the reviewer report, which stated that the paper’s appropriateness for the journal was “excellent.” It did say it was accepted with some minor changes, but those are not spelled out. Perhaps they wanted “f—king” changed to “fricking”? All the submitter had to do was wire $150 to a bank account in India, and he could have this obviously peer-reviewed paper published in this clearly prestigious journal. The point, of course, is that these open-access journals exist only to make a profit, and they will publish anything if you pay them. So if you are an academic and want to be published, make sure it is in a truly peer-reviewed and highly respected academic journal, and not one that won’t take you off their f—king mailing list but will publish your diatribe about it.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 24, 2014

Caffeinated Kathbert

Travalon thought it would be fun to have people come to a fish fry at Pooley’s, since it is his favorite place in town and very close to his job. The Single B-Boy, Cecil Markovitch, OK Cap, Richard Bonomo, Luxuli, Prairie Man, and another guy I’ve never mentioned on this blog all came on Friday night, and we had a great time. I haven’t laughed so hard in a long time! When Luxuli brought up the name Martha Stewart, I noticed all the men suddenly got very interested in whatever was on all the big-screen TVs. That is one gender gap that will never be overcome.

Saturday my band had a gig in Spring Green, which is kind of a long way to go for a free gig but we were supposedly being paid in food. We did get tips, as it turned out, but then they charged us for the supposedly free food, so it was like $6 apiece, which barely covers gas. Hardingfele didn’t want to make a fuss about being charged for our promised “free” food because she said we might want to play there again. My question is – why? Why would we want to drive so far for a whole lot of nothing? Then Travalon and I went to Rookie’s, which is like a smaller, cozier Pooley’s with all the sports memorabilia. We watched the second half of the Badgers game there, since I’d missed the first half for that lame gig. The Badgers beat Iowa, so they really can compete in the division and not just against no-name teams.

Yesterday I was the only female at brunch. Semper Fi, who hadn’t been spotted for months, appeared and told us all about his riverboat trip from St. Louis to New Orleans. Then Travalon and I watched the Packers beat the Vikings in a hard-fought game. That Vikings QB would be dangerous if he had a halfway decent team around him. Richard Bonomo and Kathbert joined me at the old condo to check for mold and take out the toilet; Kathbert (who has the best nose in the gang) didn’t smell any mold, but she did still smell rabbit, so we ended up pulling out all the wooden strips around the edge of the floors. Travalon soon joined us with coffee for everyone except Rich, who got a hot chocolate. Kathbert says she never drinks coffee, so she got kind of wired from her small iced coffee. She was enthusiastically pulling staples out of the floor like a boss. Ironically, we didn’t end up taking out the toilet (our original goal for the day) since there is more to be done in the condo, and I don’t want to be stuck having to use the sink if I’m over there for a substantial amount of time. Afterwards I treated the crew to dinner at Jerkins, where they have a new cake pie with a layer of chocolate cake on top of a chocolate silk pie. We tried it, but it was a little too over the top for my taste. Then Travalon and I watched The Empire Strikes Back, which I hadn’t seen since childhood. It makes way more sense now. I kind of agree with Yoda that trying to train Luke Skywalker to be a Jedi seems like a colossal waste of time, so I’ll have to rewatch The Return of the Jedi to see how Luke is vindicated, since my vague memory is that he is.

Famous Hat

Friday, November 21, 2014

The Marriage Oranges

Sorry for the lack of blogging the last two days. Wednesday I was home sick, and then yesterday I was busy getting caught up from having a day off. Today it is very cold out, but I am so happy. It must be time for another oranges song. This is the “Marriage Oranges”:

I love having a lover and a friend,
I love hanging out together every weekend,
I love having someone to come home to,
And Travalon, I love you!

I love our home that we take care of together,
I love walking Rodney, even in the bad weather,
I love that you don’t mind my jungle and my zoo,
And Travalon, I love you!

I love that you clean out the rabbit’s cage,
Even when she nips at you in her bunny rage,
I love that you always do the laundry too,
And Travalon, I love you!

I love when you cook dinner for me,
I love cooking dinner for you too, you see.
I love that you’ll eat broccoli, and kale too,
And Travalon, I love you!

I love that you don’t mind me dancing around
To hip hop music, which is not your favorite sound,
And you change the station when they play Pink Floyd, it’s true,
Oh Travalon, I love you!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Having a "Bad at Everything" Day

Yesterday was kind of a bummer day for me. A cleaning team came to clean my old condo, and they thought it was the messiest place they had ever seen. Now I am not a neat freak, but surely I am not the messiest person ever…? But that’s what got me down – maybe I am! Then a coworker gave me a stern talking-to about my parking job. See, when the person I replaced retired, she left me her parking spot under the building, which is wonderful because Erin Caitlin O’Honda is protected from the elements. However, the parking spaces under the building seem narrower than the ones in the lot, where I had been parking, and I was right on the line. Technically I was still in my space, but he had a point, that I hadn’t left him much room. So then I was feeling really down, like I am the world’s worst housekeeper and car parker… and then the cleaning crew said they found mold in my old condo, so now instead of just getting it painted and recarpeted, I have to do something about that potential health hazard. And here I’d thought the condo might be ready for sale by the end of the month! Fortunately Slow Food was fun; one of the regulars brought her husband, who is a retired professor of theater, and both Rich and Luxuli were able to make it. Afterwards the three of us stopped briefly at a coffeehouse, so I brought Travalon a cookie from there to apologize for abandoning him for so long. Tonight I’m coming home late again because of Irish class, so add Wife to the category of things I am subpar at. At least I am better than average at learning Irish, or so they told me last week. But of course I failed to study since then…

Famous Hat

Monday, November 17, 2014

Midwinter in Mid-November

Sorry no poem on Friday – I was frantically trying to get things done before the weekend. In the evening OK Cap and I met at the chocolate shop for hot chocolate while we waited for our table at Café Porta Alba, which I believe means Café White Door in Italian, although the door is clear glass, not white. Soon after we were seated, Luxuli joined us, and eventually Travalon did too. He said he got to drive a red Camaro at work! How cool is that? Because he is so tall, he had to put the seat down almost to the floor in order to fit into it. We had amazing cappuccinos after dinner, even if they were decaf in deference to the late hour, but then everything at Café Porta Alba is good. 

Saturday Travalon and I went to the coffee shop near our house, and they gave us a free hot cocoa they had made by accident, so we called Richard Bonomo, since that’s what he always drinks. He came and joined us for a while, then he left and we took Rodney to the dog park, but it was freezing out. Our furnace was not working right, and our cable and internet were out, so we had to go somewhere to watch the Badgers football game. We went to the Great Dane on the east side… but they had had a kitchen fire and weren’t really open. We went to the East Side Club, but apparently their winter bar has not started up yet, even though winter clearly has. We ended up at the Next Door Brewery to see the excellent game; the Badgers really beat up on Nebraska, and they’re a decent team. We’re sick of seeing the Badgers decimate what Travalon calls “cupcake teams,” but maybe they are the real deal and deserve their ranking in the Big Ten. They didn’t do very well against LSU earlier this year… It was snowing so hard that we just stayed in the rest of the evening and watched movies. How can it be midwinter when it is only mid-November??

Sunday after Mass and brunch, Travalon went to a Badgers basketball game while I hung out with Rich, then we headed home in time to meet the cable guy. He fixed our cable so we could watch the Packers game at home, and our furnace seems to be working again. Travalon really wanted to go to a nearby bar called the Willows, so we went there at halftime and were soon joined by OK Cap. Afterwards we went to Rich’s house for dinner with Kathbert, Cecil Markovitch, and Rich’s next door neighbor. We brought a frozen yogurt pumpkin pie from that coffee shop by our house, and it was really good. But you know me – I like pumpkin anything. I bought a really cute pumpkin at Trader Joe’s the other day, and now I have to decide whether to just cook it and eat it for dinner some night or to save it and make it into a pie for Thanksgiving.

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Public Service Announcement: Renaming Folders You Don't Use

Today my church choir sang at the funeral of a parishioner who had been 94 but looked about 65. He was a mailman for years, so maybe all that walking around kept him young. Then I came back to work and had a terrible shock: the folder containing all the documents explaining how to do the new part of my job had disappeared! At first I was afraid someone had deleted it entirely, but a coworker found it with a new name. At least it still existed, but all my shortcuts and links within documents to other documents were broken, so I just re-renamed it to its original name. Eventually I discovered who the culprit was, and ironically it was a coworker who had had the same thing done to her about a month ago, so you’d think she would know better. I guess it’s just too easy to think a folder you don’t use yourself could have a more descriptive name without thinking of the ramifications for the people who actually use the documents within that folder. So I beg you, gentle readers, do NOT rename folders that are not yours without asking around. This has been a Famous Hat public service announcement.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

National University Press Week Potluck

This morning I was very sad about something, and Rodney must have sensed it because he came up to me and cuddled against me. Travalon was home (he has Wednesdays off) so it wasn’t just that Rodney was lonely. They say dogs are very astute at picking up our emotions, which does seem to be true because when I am really happy, Rodney will come up to me and act all playful. He is a refreshing breath of air compared to Cashmere the rabbit, who was letting me snuggle her every evening for about a week but has now decided to hide behind her cage every time I come to get her.

This week is National University Press Week, so we decided to have a potluck at work today to celebrate. Actually, we really decided to have a potluck because the people downstairs had one last week and the food smelled so good that it was driving us nuts. The “holiday” was just a convenient excuse to have one. I hadn’t had time to prepare anything since Travalon and I went to Liliana’s last night to celebrate our six-month anniversary, so I went to Trader Joe’s this morning and picked up pear cider and mini pizzas. I got two boxes of the mini pizzas and people only ate one box worth, so it looks like I’ll be having leftovers. That’s OK, I enjoyed them more than anyone else seemed to. Handy Woman made pumpkin curry soup, and there were a couple of fresh baked bread loaves and a couple of salads. Someone brought dark chocolate bark with pistachios and chili powder in it from New Mexico. Some people thought the potluck was so great that we should do one every month, but another coworker echoed my thoughts when he groaned, “Oh Hell’s bells, no!” I never know what to bring to potlucks, and having to think of something every single month is going to overtax my brain. If you have any suggestions, feel free to leave them in the comments.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Impossible Tasks: Picking a Top Ten in Music

Yesterday was exactly six months since Travalon and I got married – wow, does time fly by! In some ways it seems like a very long time ago, and yet it seemed to pass in the blink of an eye. He gave me a salsa CD to mark the occasion, and I gave him a genuine autograph from John Lennon I got on eBay, but we didn’t go out last night. We will do that tonight, at Liliana’s, after my Irish class.

Travalon and a couple of his friends were coming up with their Top Ten list of songs, and I said I could come up with a Top Ten in several genres, but he said it had to be ten altogether. If you could only listen to ten songs ever again, what would you choose? Travalon and Light Bright guessed they probably couldn’t pronounce half the songs on my list if I ever came up with one. What, I ask you, is so hard about pronouncing “Das Neugeborne Kindelein” by Dietrich Buxtehude? Or “Marcando la Distancia” by Manolito y Su Trabuco? And is it weird that my spell check recognizes the words Buxtehude and Trabuco? It’s like this morning, when Handy Woman overslept and sent our coworker a text, but her phone autocorrected “overslept,” so her text said, “Sorry, I overseas – will be in soon.” Our coworker said she hoped she had a good trip back. Which really has nothing to do with my Top Ten list, but I am wondering about things like concertos – does each movement count as a separate selection, or can you include the entire concerto? And of course there’s Handel’s “Messiah.” Could you put the entire oratorio on your list, or would you have to limit it to one chorus, like “And He Shall Purify,” which is one of my favorites? This wasn’t as much of an issue for Travalon and his friends, who were just comparing classic rock songs, but it becomes a relevant question when you discuss other genres of music. I guess to be fair you’d have to limit selections to movements, which are often about three minutes long, just like your standard rock ditty. No fair putting a three-hour piece of music on the list. The one thing I can say for sure is my list would have to include something by Vivaldi and something by Earth, Wind, and Fire, so let’s start mine off with “Concerto in A Minor for Four Violins” and “Let’s Groove.” Maybe someday I’ll manage to limit myself to another eight pieces of music. 

Famous Hat

Monday, November 10, 2014

Old Condo: Almost Ready

Friday night Travalon went to the Waunakee football game, and they won so they are going to State for the fifth time in seven years. Sounds like they have a dynasty going! I preferred the warmth of Richard Bonomo’s house, where he served salmon with almond slices to Kathbert and me. He also had amazing ratatouille that someone else had made. Once again we stayed way too late having nerdy conversation.

Saturday the Rosary Ladies got together for coffee and the rosary, but I forgot my key to the church library, so we had to pray in the church hall. That’s the second time I’d forgotten my keys in less than a week; the first time is what triggered Travalon’s little poem to me. It had been a beautiful morning, but by the time Travalon and I drove with Rodney to Horicon Marsh, the sun had gone behind the clouds and the wind was biting. We walked along the boardwalk and saw flocks of geese and herons flying overhead, plus lots of coots swimming around in the marsh. It was very loud with all the bird calls. When we returned home, Catzookz asked if we wanted to see Big Hero 6 with her, Twins Fan, and another friend of theirs. All I can say is, I LOVE this movie, especially the cuddly healthcare providing robot BayMax. We saw it in 3-D, which was really cool. There was also an adorable short beforehand about a puppy and his owner with no words in it at all.

Sunday Travalon and I took Rodney to the dog park to enjoy the beautiful day, then we got to work with Rich and tore all the carpeting out of my old condo. It is now ready to be deep cleaned, painted and recarpeted… and then I can put it on the market! Yay! Hopefully it sells quickly, even if this isn’t the best time of year to be selling property. It’s a pretty good deal, if you know anyone looking for a small condo. It has an outdoor pool and an underground parking space. I was very happy living there for almost eight years, but our new condo is way cooler. The plants really appreciate the solarium. We treated Rich to dinner at a Mexican restaurant to thank him for his help, then we went home and watched the Packers absolutely decimate the Bears. Travalon was even rooting for the Bears to get a touchdown, it was so ridiculous. Normally I would feel bad for the other team, but it’s the Bears. Tiffy and I were texting each other during the game, and I laughed so hard when she texted: “Los Osos pobres… que lastima.” For those of you unfamiliar with Spanish, that means: “Poor Bears – that hurts.” I texted, “Maith galore,” which is Irish for “Very good” and is pronounced Ma Galore. (Our teacher says it every time we manage to say something correctly in Irish.) Galore means the same thing in Irish that it does in English because in fact it is a direct borrowing from Irish. There’s your linguistics lesson for the day.

Famous Hat

Friday, November 7, 2014

Doggy Blues

Travalon has started his new job, and so far he loves it. He works for a rental car company, and he gets to drive lots of nice, new cars around. He also has to vacuum them out, but hey, that’s moving around. One of my coworkers said the other day that sitting is the new smoking as far as things that are bad for your health, and all I do all day is sit. Some of my coworkers have standing desks, so I’m thinking of trying that out.

The one whose life is most impacted by Travalon’s new job is his poodle, Rodney. Since Travalon’s job starts earlier than mine, Rodney and I both stay in bed while he is getting ready. Then when I get up, Rodney wants to go out, and when I get home, he wants to go out. He is so ecstatic to have company that he gives my face a bath with his tongue. Poor puppy, all alone except for Cashmere the Unfriendly and Superannuated Rabbit. She is looking very old and frail these days, but then again she will be nine at the end of this month. The 28th, if you want to mark your calendars.

This is a little poem for Rodney. It probably won’t make him feel any better about getting left home alone, but I feel his pain.

Daddy left me but Step-Mom’s here.
Wait, is she going out the door??
Take me with you, please please please!
I can’t stand being alone anymore!
Time is passing, I’m so lonely,
Nobody here but that lagomorph,
And she isn’t very friendly,
Which they say is normal for a Poland dwarf.
Someone’s at the door!! Is it my daddy??
No, it’s Step-Mom, almost as good!!
Now she’s taking me out for a walk
All around our neighborhood.
I love to have a human with me
As I sniff around where the hostas grow
And find the perfect spot to pee on –
Here! This one! I gotta go!

Travalon’s a poet too. When I said something about being so lame because of something I did or didn’t do, he said, “You may be lame, but I love you just the same.” Awww!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Voting Day... and Night

Last night Travalon and I had a most romantic dinner at Liliana’s, a restaurant in Fitchburg that always has a themed menu on Tuesday nights to draw people in. Last night the theme was voting. (Did you vote? I hope so! I won’t comment on the results because half the people I know are elated and half are dejected.) For the first course, we had scallops prepared two different ways, one seared with bacon and one crudo with truffle and fleur de sel. For the main course we had two different steaks, a charred sirloin with piquillo pepper coulis and new potato smash vs. a chicken fried steak with pecan crusted green beans, garlic potato smash, and black pepper gravy. For dessert we had chocolate mousse with strawberries and a chocolate ganache cake with bourbon caramel. Then we got to vote on which choice we preferred for each course. Travalon and I agreed on the first course (the seared scallops with bacon) and the main course (the charred sirloin), but we split on the dessert: he liked the mousse and I preferred the cake. Today I see on Liliana’s MyFace page that the seared scallops, charred steak (by one vote) and the ganache cake won. There was also live music, a jazz trio taking requests so I asked for “You’d Be So Nice to Come Home to.” They were really good. It was such a wonderful night, and the two college-age bartenders were so friendly and attentive. They made a mean gin fizz. Sometimes you just have to go out on a Tuesday night and have a fancy dinner. Of course, most Tuesdays I have Irish class, but our teacher canceled it this week because that was the only time she would get to vote.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Random Tuesday Post

It’s only Tuesday and I already have nothing to blog about. Today was my first official day doing both the bookkeeping and the customer service positions, and it seemed to go smoothly. Mostly I was busy with the usual month-end reconciliation stuff. Yesterday a bunch of us went out to lunch to celebrate my coworker’s retirement, and then we came back and had cake. We gave her a gift card to Kohl’s, and she loved it. Did I mention on here that I got a gift card to Kohl’s for 10% of the value of my wedding registry? I didn’t even realize they did that, so that was an awesome bonus. Light Bright went with me and helped me spend it, then we went to the new Nordstrom’s Rack and she found an outfit. I looked at their shoes, but they were ridiculously expensive. Sometimes I think I should wear more stylish shoes, but sneakers are just so comfortable. Do I have to turn in my lady card for not being more into shoes? In my youth I was a girly girl, but now it just seems like too much effort. The good news is we got my old condo emptied out, so it should be on the market soon. First it needs new carpeting – those rabbits really did a number on it! Soon it should be beautiful, and hopefully some grad student will be ecstatic to buy a one-bedroom condo for under $80K. Here’s hoping it sells quickly!

Famous Hat

Monday, November 3, 2014

Japanese-Themed Halloween Party

Halloween evening Rich’s Japanese houseguest threw a dinner party to thank Rich for putting him and his colleague up while they were in town. Kathbert, Handy Woman, Luxuli, and Prairie Man were there as well as some other Japanese folks. I came early and handed out candy to Trick or Treaters; the cutest costume I saw was a little shark. Travalon came later with Rodney, who was not dressed in a costume but in a little doggy sweater. We had some great stuff, like Japanese curry and Kit Kat bars that are green tea-flavored instead of chocolate, and some wonderful green tea to wash it all down.

Saturday Travalon and I drove to Columbus with Rodney and went for a walk at Astico County Park, then we had dinner at the Nau-Ti-Gal. I guess that doesn’t make for very exciting reading on the blog, but it was a lot of fun to do. Our waiter thought we were crazy because we sat on the same side of the table instead of across from each other.

Yesterday after Mass and brunch, Travalon and I went to the zoo. Rich, Kathbert, and I used to spend many a Sunday afternoon at the zoo back when Rich lived mere blocks away, but I hadn’t been recently. They are building a big Arctic exhibit so half the zoo seems to be blocked for construction. Travalon likes the snake house, which doesn’t interest me too much, and we also went into the primate house, which I tend to avoid. Monkeys stink and are kind of creepy, in my opinion, but they did have ring-tail lemurs in there, and Travalon loves those. They are cute, a lot cuter than monkeys. We stopped at the ZuZu Café for pumpkin lattes afterwards. Got to exploit Pumpkin Spice Season while it is still here! When exactly does it end? Probably right after Thanksgiving, when everyone will switch over to Christmas flavors. If only they waited that long to switch over store displays and music…

Famous Hat