Monday, November 30, 2015

Thanksgiving Part Two and Hiking by the Wisconsin River

I hope my readers had a great weekend. I had a pretty good one myself. Friday evening Richard Bonomo and I had fish fry at the Fountain, then The Dairyman’s Daughter and I went to see the Vienna Boys’ Choir perform at the Overture Center. A surprising number of people had brought very tiny children, and The Dairyman’s Daughter wondered why they couldn’t find sitters, but I thought maybe they were misguided enough to think that toddlers would be interested in a boys’ choir. Several people had to take screaming or fussing kids out of the hall. The boys did very familiar pieces, except for my favorite, “Ave Verum Corpus” by Poulenc. To our surprise, we ran into Tiffy and some of her family members there, so she and I agreed that we would see a movie together the next day.

Saturday morning Travalon had to work, so I met Rich, Luxuli, and another woman for coffee. Tiffy joined Rich and me for lunch at Himal Chuli’s, her favorite restaurant, then in the late afternoon she, Travalon, and I went to the final Hunger Games movie, which seems as if it would be very confusing if you hadn’t read the book. Travalon and I checked out a customer appreciation party at the Nau-Ti-Gal, then we joined Rich, Kathbert, Luxuli, and Prairie Man for Thanksgiving Part Two at Rich’s house.

Sunday I had been thinking of going to a Baroque music concert, but I forgot all about it and went to Sauk City with Travalon and Rodney. We took a hike on a trail along the Wisconsin River, then we stopped into the Blue Spoon Diner for some coffee to warm up, and then we drove to Ferry Bluff, but it is closed this time of year due to the bald eagles breeding. Actually, nobody is there to stop you, and there is no gate up, but there were signs, so we decided to be good citizens and obey them. We stopped into our favorite resort on Crystal Lake, and then we checked out That BBQ Joint for dinner. Warning: the spicy slaw is REALLY hot! It’s like one-third jalapeno peppers. The restaurant is on Willy Street, which Travalon says is the craziest street in the state, and we saw some interesting characters come in to get barbeque. Why not, it’s great food for a reasonable price. Then we picked up some stuff at the Willy Street Co-op, another place full of interesting characters. I once saw a guy in a giraffe costume there! Finally we headed home and watched Downton Abbey episodes for the first time in days. I am trying to get caught up before the new season starts, and we’re almost done with Season Three so we only have one more season to go.

Famous Hat

Friday, November 27, 2015

Thanksgiving 2015

I hope all my readers had a happy Thanksgiving. Wednesday evening Travalon and I got dressed up and went downtown. We had dinner at the Tipsy Cow (including goat cheese curds – yum!) and then went to a Latin music festival. I had heard about it on MyFace from Miss Heartsong, but we didn’t see her there, although I did see one of the doctors I used to work with. The first band did a fusion of salsa and soul, then the second band was Latin jazz, and we didn’t stay for the third band but they are straight-up salsa – I’ve danced to them on the rooftop of the Monona Terrace many times before.

Yesterday we went to Travalon’s family’s Thanksgiving celebration for lunch. I met his one brother’s girlfriend for the first time, and she is very interesting to converse with. Another brother gave the best explanation of what is wrong in politics today that I’ve ever heard. (Basically we all want a balance between personal liberty and security, but the two parties veer to either extreme.) One of Travalon’s sisters-in-law surprised him with a birthday cake, since his birthday (a big one!) is on Tuesday. Then in the evening we attended Rich’s Thanksgiving Day dinner, for which we had provided the turkey. (Rich cooked it.) Kathbert, Luxuli, Prairie Man, Cecil Markovitch, El Vegetariano, and many other people were there – I believe there were sixteen of us in all. The only two sad notes were that nobody brought a pumpkin pie (there were four other kinds: Kentucky Derby, apple, lemon chiffon, and banana cream), and of course that sad, sad, sad Packers loss. How could they lose at home to the Bears?? On the night they retired Brett Favre’s number?? With Bart Starr present???? Oh Packers, you are a constant source of heartache to me! And to myriad other people, I’m sure.

One more note: Light Bright had her baby boy on the 16th. He was about 9 pounds and 21 inches. She sent me an adorable photo of him, but I’m not sure I’m allowed to share it on this blog. I will note that, for a newborn, he is extremely cute. In my opinion they usually look like raisins.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Improving in Irish

We are working our way, slowly and painfully, through a crime novel in Irish class. I am driving the teacher crazy because I keep commenting on the guy’s poor writing style (can’t help critiquing it, as a writer myself), and she keeps reminding me, “What we care about is the language, not the style.” For example, this guy throws in completely unnecessary details and then suddenly changes topics so you have no idea which character is being referred to. All of us were a bit thrown for a loop by one of his jumps. On the plus side, I am finding it is gradually getting easier to translate this piece of questionable literary merit. Last night after class I came home and told Travalon that I am really starting to learn this language. It is kind of amazing to think that, at my age, I can still learn a whole new language that has so little to do with any I’ve studied before. Even my Irish CDs are seeming less mysterious, and I can make out whole sentences in the conversations they are having. If I am ever lucky enough to get back to Ireland and find myself in an area where they speak the language, maybe I can even try conversing with the natives!

The teacher did tell us a funny story: her sister was traveling in Ireland recently, and when she got back, she commented on how large the town of Amach must be, because she kept seeing signs for it. Of course, “amach” just means “exit,” and I said I had heard a similar story from a guy who visited Germany and wondered why all the exits led to a town called “Ausfart.” I wonder if non-English speakers think we have an extraordinarily large city in this country called “Exit”?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Life Insurance Sales Lady

I have a life insurance policy through my union, and a woman from the company wanted to come out to speak to me. We had an appointment set, but then, to my immense relief, she called it off on account of illness. She claimed she just had some paperwork for me to sign to get the money if I should have a terminal illness, but I suspected there was more to it than that. She also wanted Travalon to be there because she wanted to give him something. So last night she did come over, and when she looked me up on her computer, the first thing she said was, “You’re a Capricorn too!” I said yes, and Travalon’s a Sagittarius, and then she said so was her ex-husband. “It’s a combination that doesn’t work unless you both are willing to put a lot of work into it,” she said, which seems odd because Travalon is the lowest maintenance significant other I have ever had. Then she gave us a bunch of paperwork for the terminal illness rider, some health insurance supplement card that can even be used for Rodney’s subscription medication, and a certificate to get the money instantly for the funeral home in the event of my death. That all sounded well and good, but I was sure she wanted something more, and sure enough, she started to ask us all sorts of questions about what insurance we have. Her conclusion? I needed to buy more life insurance. I said, “No, thanks. I have plenty with my job.” She said that was all term insurance that will end when I retire, which may be true, but I don’t need any big, elaborate funeral that is going to set Travalon back so much money that my current policy won’t cover it. As far as I’m concerned, he can bury me in the marsh and have a potluck to celebrate my life, although that probably wouldn’t go over too well with the authorities. I remember from Mr. Why’s unfortunate demise that the funeral industry is always trying to push expensive options on the survivors, but Travalon can just say no. I won’t be offended if he doesn’t get the Remembrance Angel Bear.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 23, 2015

Saturday Miscommunications

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday Travalon and I didn’t want to brave the snow and go anywhere, so we walked forty feet to the Mariner’s Club for fish fry. Saturday the snow was still kind of bad in the morning. Tiffy wanted us to meet her and her sister for lunch, but we ended up missing each other due to miscommunications. I did get together with her in the afternoon, and then she, OK Cap, and I met Travalon for dinner at Oliva, a Mediterranean restaurant. Afterwards we three ladies went to a Baroque music concert, but I had gotten confused about the starting time, thinking there was a lecture beforehand, so we arrived just as we thought the lecture was finishing, but it was actually the start of intermission. Oh well, we only had to pay half price this way, and the second half of the concert was fantastic, especially Boccherini’s “Fandango.” Tiffy and I stayed up way too late that night finding songs we liked on YouTube.

Yesterday Tiffy joined the usual crowd for brunch, then she headed home. Travalon and I were invited to a “game night,” which was supposed to mean that we played games, but it turned out to be at the same time as the Packers game, so while the others played Settlers of Cattan, we watched the Packers actually win. I was tired of my brother and his punk friend trash-talking the Packers on MyFace, so I hoped this would shut them up, but of course today his friend said it was all bad officiating, and the referees must have been paid to throw the game to the Packers because otherwise of course the Vikings would have won. I know the refs often call things I don’t see, and don’t call things I do see, but this game didn’t seem any worse than usual. I am just amazed that this blowhard is trying so hard to find a way to say the Vikings are better than the Packers even after they lost – and quite decisively, I may add. It was not a very close game. 

Famous Hat

Friday, November 20, 2015

Feeling Young Again

Last night Travalon and I went to the East Side Club for their Thanksgiving Social, and after a dinner of traditional Thanksgiving favorites, we played “Name That Tune” with a member playing songs on one of those keyboards that does a backup beat for you. I have to say, I felt very young because he was playing tunes from the 50’s and 60’s for us to identify, and I didn’t know a single one. One woman who looked a little closer to my age requested that he do a disco-era song, so he did, and that was the one song I recognized, although neither Travalon nor I actually knew the tune’s name. It does seem to be human nature to gravitate toward the music that was popular when a person is a young adult, so for me that would be the late 80’s and early 90’s, and it has to be dance music. Tiffy had a tape once upon a time of dance club songs from our high school and college years, and I found my favorites from it on YouTube, so I have been running to them every morning, as well as a song I learned about from a high school boyfriend. This is my playlist:

“Psychoslaphead” – I think this is by Psychoslaphead, but that is supposedly a side project of Juno Reactor, who are much better known – they did the music for the Matrix movies
“Hurt You So” by Jonny L
“James Brown Is Dead” by LA Style – the only one that has a million hits on YouTube
“Jack the Lad” by 3 Man Island – this isn’t from Tiffy’s tape but from my high school boyfriend

Listening to this music always makes me feel 22 again. I posted these songs to MyFace, and not one person liked them. I also sent links to my coworker who used to go to the dance clubs back in the day, and he didn’t know them and said they were too “acid” for his tastes. Oh, well. At least a few other people must like these songs too, because they all have likes on YouTube.

After running to those four songs, I move on to songs from the 2010’s. Plenty of stuff to like nowadays, too, as long as it has a frenetic beat.

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 19, 2015

What My Blog Should Be About

As often happens, I have no inspiration today, so I googled “What to blog about.” To my surprise, there was a quiz, but it wasn’t just to choose a topic for a particular post; it was to determine what your whole blog should be about. Some of the questions were frankly kind of dumb (for example, one asked what channel I would finally find something to watch on, and it listed four I never watch but had no “none of the above” option), so I just chose options I had actually heard of and was informed that I should blog about entertainment. This strikes me as pretty hilarious, since I am the sort of person who could see a celebrity on the street and at best think, “That person looks familiar. Where do I know him from? Does he go to my church?” More likely, I would not have the slightest glimmer of recognition. Of course there are people who know even less celebrity gossip than I do, but precious few, I’m sure. The few times I do read those brain candy celebrity magazines, like in waiting rooms, I hardly know who anyone is in them. Does this mean the quiz I took was inaccurate? Perhaps part of the reason my blog has such a limited sphere of influence is precisely because it is not about any one topic, but as my regular readers know, this blog’s motto is: “More random than a rabbit on a B17!” (See photo to the left.) Honestly, I think most of my readers just enjoy seeing their blog names in print, so here you go: Travalon, Jilly Moose, Luxuli, Richard Bonomo, Ma and Pa Hat, Lute Player, and possibly Hardingfele if she ever looks at this blog again.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

Photos of Our Chicago Pilgrimage

As promised, here are photos of our Chicago pilgrimage. First is St. George's Antiochian Orthodox Church.

The weeping icon is on the lower left - Mary, Seat of Wisdom:

Here are some photos of the creche scenes from all over the world at the Loyola Art Museum. The first photo shows some Polish examples, and the second one is a charming Peruvian nativity scene.

This is the water tower across the street from the Loyola Art Museum.

Here is a horse pulling a carriage outside the Loyola Art Museum.

And just behind the water tower, we could see the John Hancock Building:

Nearby there was a luxury car dealer. Check out Travalon posing with this Lamborghini:

Here are some shots of the inside of the St. James Chapel at Loyola University, with its beautiful stained glass windows, and a shot of the courtyard outside.

Here are a couple shots of the interior of Holy Name Cathedral:

This is one of the Ukrainian Catholic churches, the one that didn't have Vespers:

And here is the one that did have Vespers:

And the inside of it, courtesy of Travalon:

Famous Hat

Monday, November 16, 2015

Chicago Pilgrimage

It was another lovely weekend, at least for this time of year. Friday evening Travalon and I went to the Crystal Lake resort for their fish fry, which was passable but nothing great. My advice: stick with their burgers. They are juicy and delicious.

Saturday was our big pilgrimage to Chicago, led by Cecil Markovitch and attended by Mr. N’Awlins, the Single B-Boy, Trinidad Cap, the Dairyman’s Daughter, Travalon, and me. (Travalon and I were going to join the group partway through the trip, not wanting to leave Madtown at 6:30 am, but then we woke up before 5:30 so we said, “Let’s do it!”) Our first stop was St. George’s Antiochian Orthodox Church in Cicero, which is known for having a weeping icon of Mary. We got there around 9, but they weren’t open until 11 on Saturdays. However, Cecil called someone, and a guy came right over and opened the church up for us. The icon was indeed weeping – you could see two streaks of water running down the plate of glass covering it. This miracle began in 1994.

Our next stop was the Loyola University Art Museum, a small museum with pieces mostly from the 16th and 17th century upstairs, and a charming seasonal display of crèche scenes from all over the world on the main floor. Across the street was an old water tower which was open to tourists, so we explored the inside of it. We also visited competing chocolate shops across the street from each other: Ghirardelli’s and Hershey’s. Then we walked about a block to Loyola’s beautiful St. James chapel, with amazing stained glass windows. They were having a free concert, and I was stoked when I saw a guy tuning a theorbo, thinking, “This is going to be my kind of music!” And it was! It was all Baroque music associated with Rome. Our last stop downtown was a few blocks away, a quick visit to Holy Name Cathedral, which is a weird amalgamation of old and modern inside – not ugly, just very strange.

Then we drove to a part of town with two Ukrainian Catholic churches a block away from each other. Cecil could never remember which one had Vespers, so we went to one, but it was locked. Across the street was a Ukrainian Cultural Museum which appeared to be open, so we went over there to inquire. They said they were closed but had a special event going on, and they called someone and told us there would be no Vespers. We walked down to the other church, and they had Vespers, which consisted of the priest and another guy chanting back and forth in Ukrainian. We all watched an old nun in the front row to know when to stand and when to sit. After that, we went to our final destination, Agostino’s Ristorante. The Dairyman’s Daughter and I were very impressed that the B-Boy could parallel park on the left, since we have trouble doing it on the right. We had a fancy Italian dinner, and Cecil dragged it out by having dessert and espresso, so we didn’t get home until well after midnight.

Yesterday Travalon and I somehow got up in time for Mass, then we went to a Packers pizza party at the East Side Club. What has happened to our Pack?? I can understand them losing on the road to two undefeated foes, but losing at home to the worst team in the league?? The Lions didn’t have great defense, but they didn’t even need it, because our offense couldn’t get anything going. Rodgers has just not been himself lately. Then Travalon and I took Rodney for a hike at Governor Nelson State Park, and then we had a quiet evening at home, watching some episodes from Season One of Downton Abbey. Perhaps I will be caught up by the time the new season begins.

Tomorrow: photos from Chicago! I have plenty of them!

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 12, 2015

Water Heater Issues

Yesterday the water at our condo was turned off around eight in the morning while they installed new water heaters. I didn’t really care, since that is when I left for work, where of course they had running water. Travalon had the day off of work, but he was out and about, fishing with Rodney most of the day, so it didn’t really affect him either. After work I met with Jilly Moose and OK Cap for dinner at Pasqual’s, then I went to choir practice and had to sing soprano on a number of songs, which was surprisingly easy. Either I’m a really good sight reader, or I’ve sung soprano on these songs before. Of course, it helps that I’ve heard the soprano part next to me while singing the alto part for nearly two decades. When I finally got home around nine, Travalon told me the water still wasn’t turned back on, but I tried it and it worked. Just then he got an email from the condo association president saying there would be no hot water until this morning. Since I take showers before bed, this was bad news for me. I had to go to bed unshowered.

This morning I got up early enough to run for a mile and a half, then I had to decide: head to the health club for a warm shower, or brave a cold one at home? I erred on the side of laziness and figured I’d just offer up the frigid shower for the poor souls in Purgatory or something. However, the shower didn’t seem that unbearably cold, and it actually warmed up to a downright pleasant temperature within a few minutes. Either the guys working on the water heater started very early this morning, or I could have taken a bearable shower last night, after all. Then I couldn’t find a hair dryer (since I always let my hair air dry overnight), but my hair actually looks pretty good after air drying on the way to work. Maybe I should always shower in the mornings!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 11, 2015

Time for "Spring Training" Again!

As my longtime readers may remember, a few years back Luxuli gave me a generous birthday present: a nine-week “spring training” at our health club during which I met with a personal trainer once a week, and at each meeting she gave me a new exercise to do and a new dietetic deprivation. For example, one week she told me to walk a mile every day and only eat dessert once a week. While I was on this program, I lost a lot of weight, so it seems like doing it on my own might work for me. Unfortunately, I don’t remember all the things the personal trainer (who was also named Famous) asked me to do, but I do remember walking for a mile and going up five flights of stairs every day. With my iPhone, it is easy to keep track of my progress, and every work day I go up at least five flights of stairs, because there are two flights to my office, and I go up them twice: once at the beginning of the day, and again at lunchtime, when returning from my mile rosary walk, and then I have to go up another flight at home. Travalon’s phone has set a personal goal for him of six thousand steps per day, and now that I am running for at least a mile every morning, I am easily achieving that too. In fact, this week I averaged eight thousand steps a day and six flights of stairs, because on weekends Travalon and I often go hiking in hilly places, and my iPhone counts going uphill as a flight of stairs if it is steep enough. According to old blog posts, some of the challenges from “spring training” were doing the Plank (a horrible core exercise) for as long as possible, doing a minute of jumping jacks, and doing as many pushups as possible, but fortunately these only have to be three times a week, not every day. It was so much easier to do these challenges when Light Bright suffered through them along with me…

Speaking of Light Bright, no word on her baby boy yet. He was due yesterday. I will keep you posted.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

When Procrastination Pays

As usual, I didn’t get to my Irish homework until last night; the difference this time was that I couldn’t finish it. Our teacher asked us to translate two pages of a crime thriller, and I got most of the way done with the first page and saw it was 11 pm. No way could I stay up to finish the whole thing! But then something amazing happened today – I got an email from our teacher saying she was stuck out of town and had to cancel class this evening. Wow, it’s like the time I had to create a book of different types of poetry in middle school, and of course I put it off until the night before and then realized there was no way I could do it. Wouldn’t you know the next day was a snow day? And I didn’t waste it; nope, I threw myself into writing that poetry book, creating over a dozen poems and illustrating them lavishly. The next day I turned my creation in, and when I got it back, the teacher had written that my book was by far the best one in the whole class, and I should consider becoming a writer. How proud would she be to learn that I am now a semi-professional writer, making tens of dollars writing this blog? And sometimes I even write poetry on it! I was going to write a poem today, but inspiration didn’t strike. Anyway, this gives me a chance to translate the rest of the chapter in the crime novel and impress my Irish teacher. Maybe I should write a poem about Irish crime novels.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 9, 2015

Hiking on the Ice Age Trail

I hope my readers had a good weekend and got to enjoy some of the mild weather while you still can. Friday night I got two pizzas and joined Kathbert and Jilly Moose at Richard Bonomo’s house. Jilly Moose brought Packer cookies. Travalon, meanwhile, was watching Oconomowoc’s high school football team in the playoffs; they were down by 21 points but managed to tie things up and then lost by a touchdown in the last four seconds of the game. Heartbreaking!

Saturday Travalon and one of our neighbors got our boat into our garage, where it can hopefully wait out the winter until we can take it out on the water again. Then he and I took Rodney and went hiking on the Ice Age Trail outside of Lodi, where there is a three-mile loop that goes into the Baraboo Range. This is a range of ancient mountains, over a billion years old, which are just hills now. That’s what a billion years will do to anyone. Then we stopped for a quick soda at the rival resort on Crystal Lake, where they were not nearly as friendly, before going to the resort on the peninsula for lunch. Amazing cheeseburgers! We watched the Badger game before heading to Rich’s next-door neighbor’s birthday party. Kathbert, Jilly Moose, Luxuli, and Prairie Man came too. There were no party games, just food (Travalon and I brought bread, Luxuli and Prairie Man brought a salad, and Rich made a pork dish), and dessert: Rich’s Black Magic cake and pumpkin cream liqueur courtesy of Jilly Moose. We all called it a night kind of early – I think this time change has hit us all very hard! For some reason it always seems worse to me than the spring one, even though at that time you lose an hour of sleep.

Yesterday Travalon and I watched most of the Packer game at the East Side Club with some other members, and we all brought dishes for a potluck. However, the Packers had not shown up to play, or so it seemed, because both their offense and their defense were nonexistent. Travalon and I finally gave up and decided we needed to get outside on such a beautiful day, so we left just as the fourth quarter started and took Rodney to the dog park. Between Travalon looking at his phone, and texts I got from Tiffy, we found out the Pack roared back to life and almost tied things up right at the end… if Rodgers hadn’t thrown an interception. If they’d played like that the whole game, maybe they would have handed Carolina their first defeat this year. Travalon and I met Jilly Moose, Luxuli, Prairie Man, and OK Cap for dinner at Bellitalia, since Luxuli and Prairie Man had square dancing about a block away from there. Then Travalon and I went to the new Peanuts movie, which was cute but seemed to be a little kinder in spirit than the original comic strip. For example, Snoopy was helping Charlie Brown try to win over the Little Red-Headed Girl, when in the comic strip he just regarded him as “that round-headed kid.” I won’t tell you whether Charlie Brown gets the girl or not – you’ll just have to see the movie yourself.

Famous Hat

Friday, November 6, 2015

Girls' Night with Light Bright

Last night I got together for dinner with Light Bright, her mother, and another former coworker of mine (a lab tech) who has recently moved into Light Bright’s neighborhood. Light Bright looks ready to pop – her baby is due on Tuesday! Can you believe it? Her husband fled the house so we could have a real Girls’ Night, and after a delicious dinner of chicken, salad, pesto pasta, and garlic bread all made by Light Bright, we sat out in the living room eating the dark chocolate I had brought and discussing very girlish topics. I’m sure any man who would have overheard our conversation would have been bored to tears! I always wonder what guys discuss when we ladies aren’t around. According to Travalon, the men’s steak nights are hilarious because Cecil Markovitch and Twins Fan are such funny guys, but he has never actually told me the content of their jokes. Knowing that group, probably very little of it has to do with sports, hunting, or fishing, which are the stereotypical guys’ topics of conversation. Anyway, I am a big believer in guys having guys’ night and ladies having ladies’ night, but I also love hanging out in a mixed group. Especially if Cecil Markovitch and Twins Fan are both there!

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 5, 2015

Very Boring Post

Some days I have nothing to say, and no poetic muse inspired me today, so here’s an update on my exercise progress: I have been running in place for a mile every morning (except yesterday, but I walked 12,000 steps and went up the equivalent of 11 flights of stairs), and it seems to be making a difference. However, I have been bad about getting to the gym for weight training. My old UGGH Club buddies are back to their usual shenanigans at 6:00 am, and there is no way I am getting up that early. When Travalon and I go to the club on Monday evenings, we swim. Tonight I plan to do weights for the first time in ages – maybe I will even do Strength Training without Mercy! My other usual source of exercise is my lunchtime rosary walk, but yesterday I didn’t do it, between hiking at Cherokee Marsh and walking around the exhibit hall all afternoon. Today I went to a lunchtime seminar on financial planning for women. That was fun – they fed us well, and I saw some old pals there – but obviously there was no time for a walk. Still, I did run in the morning and will do weights this evening, so this week my exercise regimen is going better than my prayer life!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Cherokee Marsh

Today was a really fun day for me. I took the morning off of work, and Travalon, Rodney, and I went for a hike in Cherokee Marsh. Then in the afternoon I manned a booth with a coworker at a library association meeting, and all we had to do was smile at people and answer questions about our books. And this counts as work! I love it!

Here are some photos from my recent adventures. First, Tiffy, Travalon, Richard Bonomo, and I at the corn maze:

Here are some photos of the fall foliage at Devil's Lake:

And a couple of shots from the Merrimac Ferry on our way back home:

This is out of order, but here are some photos of Governor Dodge State Park:

This is a lovely shot Rich took of the autumn colors in the Arboretum:

Here are a more recent photo of Roche-a-Cri, a photo of Chickadee Rock in the same state park, and a couple of shots of Rabbit Rock, which is in a little wayside park.

Finally, here are Travalon and Rodney in Cherokee Marsh.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Freakfest 2015

I completely forgot to mention in yesterday’s post that Travalon really wanted to see Freakfest down on State Street, so we went to that after leaving Rich’s house. I hadn’t been there in years, and I remembered it being really insane and the sort of thing I try to avoid. However, the costumes were often quite amazing, and usually very entertaining. These days the party is an official one, with security personnel and a $5 cover charge, so things are a lot tamer. There is live music as well. I was disappointed by the costumes: everyone seemed to be either a banana, a minion (like from the movies), or Chewbacca. I did see one group that was the people from Scooby-Doo, with a cardboard Mystery Machine, but they didn’t have a Scooby-Doo with them. One guy was dressed like an outlet, and another guy was a crayon, and that was about it for cool costumes. Maybe it was the rotten weather, but I didn’t even see the usual sexy costumes on the girls this year. I’m not sure why bananas are so popular this year, but maybe it’s because Brian the dog from Family Guy always dresses up in a banana suit.

Travalon and I tried to go to a bar on State Street, but they were all totally packed. We ended up heading back home to the Nau-Ti-Gal, where their Halloween party was just winding down. The musicians were just packing up as we arrived. The costumes there were more homemade, and the drinks were really good – I had pumpkin-infused brandy and Travalon had an amazing White Russian that tasted just like a chocolate milkshake. In case you are curious, Travalon and I did not dress up as anything. In the old days I was creative for Halloween, but this year I couldn’t think of anything to do. Perhaps I went as a boring, middle-aged married woman.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 2, 2015

Return to Roche-a-Cri

I hope all my readers had a great weekend. Friday I had a quiet evening and talked to Ma Hat on the phone for a long time. Saturday the weather was kind of rotten; Travalon and I had been planning to attend the Badger football game, but we decided against it, since it rained all day long. I did have to get some bloodwork done, but the good news (I got the results today) is that my numbers are already improved over early October, and I have only been running for a couple of weeks. Wow, those are some fast results! I will definitely keep running! The tests required fasting, so afterwards Travalon and I had breakfast at the Heritage Café, and then we watched the game on TV from the warmth and dryness of our living room. The movie theater in Sun Prairie was showing The Jungle Book, which is one of my favorite movies, so we went to that, and then we went to Rich’s house to help him decorate for Halloween and hand out candy to trick-or-treaters. Kathbert also joined us for dinner. We had very nerdy conversation (poor Travalon!) about musical modes and what the chemical structure of fake vanilla could be that makes me so crazy when I eat it. (We never did figure that one out.)

Yesterday was much more beautiful, so Travalon and I headed back to Roche-a-Cri State Park to do some hiking with Rodney. We took the long trail, so thanks to the wonders of the time change, we almost ran out of daylight before heading to Rabbit Rock, a small park in Adams County just north of Roche-a-Cri. There was still enough light for us to follow a trail around the rock and, according to my iPhone, we went up the equivalent of seven flights of stairs, so with going up the choir loft at my church and the stairs to our condo, my grand total for yesterday was twelve flights of stairs. I also took over fifteen thousand steps yesterday. This morning I was kind of sore… The only bad thing about yesterday was that sad Packer game. They can’t win them all, and at least they were beaten by an undefeated team, but both the offense and the defense just looked awful last night in Denver. The safety was the final insult. But they are still our Packers, and I love them win or lose. Unlike any other team in the NFL, we can count on them to stay with us forever.

Famous Hat