Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Farewell to 2015

As 2015 is drawing to a close, I have to say that, for me, it was just about as wonderful as 2014. Which is really saying something, because last year I got married and had a honeymoon in Ireland. This year Travalon and I had our big trip to Hawaii and spent a lot of time out on our boat, and it’s hard to ask for a better year than that. We even had fun binge-watching (I guess that’s a thing now) Soap and Downton Abbey. I got more adept at Irish and sort of learned to play the ukulele – who says you can’t learn new things at my age? Which will be one year older on Sunday. How will 2016 compete? Will the Packers actually go to the Super Bowl? Will I get another raise at work? Will we start a family? Stay tuned, and I hope all my regular readers have a wonderful New Year’s and a blessed 2016.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 29, 2015

Another Unlucky Tuesday

I am having a grumpy day. Historically, Tuesdays have often been the worst day of the week for me; for example, September 11, 2001 was a Tuesday. Today has, fortunately, not been anything like that, but I am feeling grumpy nonetheless. It started with an agent who had sent in an order and rounded down the amount on the check so they didn’t pay the whole amount. Now if you go into a grocery store and the cost is $25.38 and you hand the cashier $25 and say, “Let’s call it even,” nobody is going for that. I decided not to bother to send the check back to India but did send an email saying this was dishonest of them, and to my surprise they took issue with being called dishonest for “rounding down.” If everyone rounded down, we would be out a lot of money. I said in the United States this is indeed dishonest, so tough if you feel insulted, since we are already giving you a discount. So far they haven’t responded.

The second thing that happened was that I thought I had a good idea to do something generous for someone, so I sent an email about it to some other people. Several people replied that it was a good idea and they wanted in on it, but one person replied to everyone and said how my idea was really quite foolish and this person had a far better idea. When I responded testily but just to that person, this individual was surprised that I would be annoyed by what they did. Now I’m not sure if anyone will still agree with my idea, since it has been so publicly ridiculed, and maybe nothing will happen at all, which is par for the course.

The third thing is my own fault, and such a small thing that it shouldn’t even affect my mood, but I forgot my iPhone while taking my lunchtime walk. This means I got no credit for the mile-plus that I walked (through snow!) and the two flights of stairs I went up. Of course in reality I get “credit” for it, and it still burned calories even if my iPhone didn’t record it, but I like getting “official” credit for my exercise. It makes my daily average look better.

Maybe that will be it for today. They say bad things happen in threes. Although, come to think of it, this morning my car had been plowed in and it took fifteen minutes and Travalon’s help to get out, so I was late for work. So that’s four. Tuesday, why do you hate me so?

Famous Hat

Monday, December 28, 2015

A Very Hat Christmas

I hope my readers had a good Christmas. Mine was good, but very busy. Christmas Eve Travalon and I ran errands in the morning, then we went to his family’s Christmas lunch, where we had turducken, which I had heard of but had never tried. It is a chicken inside of a duck inside of a turkey. It was really good and had spicy Cajun cornbread stuffing. People brought a lot of vegetable dishes, which made me happy, but we were bad and brought cheesecake. Then Travalon and I had to rush back to town for “midnight Mass” at 5:00 pm, and the carol sing beforehand. Afterwards we went home and I made the cassata, then I brought it to Rich’s and managed to get chocolate everywhere, including on my hat, my gloves, my coat, and Rich’s front door. Rich was having a tree decorating party, and several people were there decorating the tree, including Catzookz and Twins Fan. Rich had gotten a very large tree in this way: he went to buy a tree the day before, but the guy who was selling them had already packed up. However, there was one very tall tree left behind, so Rich got a free tree that was too tall for his living room. He set it up in the solarium area, which I found enchanting because when he first got his house, I imagined a tree in the solarium and little kids peeking at it from the loft. I looked down at it from the loft, and it was as wonderful as I’d hoped, except that there were no little kids, and no presents around the bottom of the tree. Also, Travalon and I exchanged gifts that evening after Mass; I gave him the genetics test Rich gave me a couple of years ago, a special Smithsonian issue about the Civil War, and a book about Downton Abbey, and he gave me the Rap Yearbook, a hat kind of like Famous Hat but more for spring than summer, an Ahman Green jersey, and stuff to learn Welsh: a dictionary and a CD course. Why not, now that I have almost mastered Irish? Might as well throw another Celtic language into the mix!

Christmas Day Travalon and I got in the car and drove to the Dells, where we used part of the Starbucks gift card that Handy Woman had given me for Christmas. We continued on to Ma and Pa Hat’s house and arrived not long before Christmas dinner, which was lasagna. (Same as at Rich’s.) My brother made these amazing chocolate raspberry individual cakes which he said were based on the cassata, although they weren’t that similar. My nephews, who are 21 and 19, were there too, and they are delightful young men and very good conversationalists. Travalon and I brought raspberry beer from New Glarus to enjoy with dessert, and we didn’t even know it was going to be raspberry flavored! It was just a lucky coincidence. The funniest part of the gift exchange was when Ma and Pa Hat gave my brother jalapeno spam and chorizo spam and a spam cutting board, all from the Spam Museum gift shop. Travalon and I left in the early evening and stopped to get something to eat in La Crosse, but Jerkins was the only thing open in town so it was packed. We ended up getting all the way to Mauston and finding a Denny’s there for quite a late bite to eat.

Saturday Travalon had to work in the morning, so I met Rich and another woman for coffee, then Rich and I went to Mo Girl’s house to see what she had left from the religious art store she is shutting down. To our surprise, she, the married B-Boy, and her college friend gave us lunch before we saw the art, then Rich and I picked out a few things, and she gave them to us for Christmas and my birthday. She even insisted on giving something to Travalon for his birthday – a statue of St. Anthony that he says will watch over the stuff in his Man Cave. In the evening I had the Immediate Family Christmas Dinner with Rich and Kathbert, and Travalon joined us for dessert. There had been quite a crowd the day before, but Rich did manage to save us some cassata and pie. He also cracked out the cookies Anna Banana II had sent, but we were too full after his lasagna and the cassata and pie to try any. Hopefully he doesn’t eat them all before we get back there…

Yesterday Travalon and I had a quiet day, then in the afternoon we went to a young couple’s house with some others to choose our characters for a game we are going to play. I watched the first three quarters of that disastrous Packer game quite intently but gave up on the fourth quarter to create my character. Her name is Iconostasia – my big decision was whether to spell that with a C or a K, but I was advised to go with a C. Mostly this seemed to be an excuse to eat homemade pizza, spinach salad, and the cookies from my cookie exchange. Travalon and I got home at a decent hour, so we watched some more Downton Abbey. We should finish up the last season tonight, so we’ll be all ready for the season premiere on Sunday! Of course, now they have changed the time of the Packers game, and they are playing the Vikings, so we will have to make some tough decisions. I hate having to make decisions, and it will be my birthday, so extra yucky. Luckily we can record one or the other…     

Famous Hat

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Christmas Card Mix-Up

I have a lot to do and not a lot to say, but my blogging may be somewhat sporadic for the next few days so it’s worth putting something up as a post, even if it isn’t my most scintillating writing. Yesterday I ordered personalized Christmas cards from a pharmacy that will remain nameless, and they emailed me midday to say they were ready. After work I happily picked them up, went home, and started making dinner. When Travalon came home, I wanted to show him our cards, but to my horror they had given us the wrong cards, and I couldn’t leave in the middle of making dinner. Because Travalon is a prince among men, he ran over to the pharmacy and picked up our Christmas cards, which had already been returned by the other couple who erroneously received them. (And I’m sure they were happy to get their own cards!) Better yet, Nameless Pharmacy gave us a generous gift card for our inconvenience! Then I made cookies for our cookie exchange at work today. Five of us participated, so I don’t have nearly the dazzling variety I used to get at the cookie exchanges at my previous job, when we would have over a dozen people participate. I made peanut butter blossoms, which are one of my favorites and are very easy – the hard part is unwrapping the chocolate kisses that go on each cookie. Then tonight and/or tomorrow I will make the cassata for Rich’s dinner, but this year Travalon and I are going to Ma and Pa Hat’s for Christmas Dinner. Wishing a very Merry Christmas to all 5.6 of my faithful readers!

Famous Hat

Monday, December 21, 2015

Light Bright's Farewell Performance

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I had an enjoyable one myself. Friday at work we had a taco bar potluck and white elephant gift exchange (I got a Star Wars cup I gave to Travalon), then in the evening Travalon and I went to the fish fry at the East Side Club. Saturday morning I wanted to go to confession; the line was quite long, but I started a rosary and, to my immense joy, finished up just as I got to the head of the line. Then Travalon and I had coffee at the Crossroads Coffee House in Cross Plains. It was a sunny but cold day, so we talked about taking a hike outside but ended up staying inside until the evening, when we ventured out for pizza at CafĂ© Porta Alba and the movie Brooklyn, about a girl from Ireland who comes over to Brooklyn in the early 1950’s. It was highly recommended by my Irish teacher and one of my classmates, and it was a lovely little movie with no explosions or even bad guys, just a story of a girl trying to fit into a new place. At one point she has to go back to Ireland, and then she has to make a decision: go back to her old life there, or return to her new life in Brooklyn? I won’t give any more of it away.

Yesterday did not start auspiciously, because first I did the morning prayers for the wrong day and didn’t have enough time to do the right ones, then during Mass my carol book was missing the German words for “Lo, How a Rose e’er Blooming,” and I could maybe sing the English ones from memory, but the German ones? Forget it! As soon as the choir finished singing the song, I realized that page was put into the book backwards, and the German words were just on the other side. D’oh! The rest of the day did improve. First Travalon and I took Rodney for a hike by the river, then we drove with OK Cap to Roxbury to see Light Bright’s farewell performance with her band, and Jilly Moose met us there. Travalon and I were kind of bummed about missing the Packer game, but wouldn’t you know we found seats where we could watch the band AND the game! And the Packers won! This was at the Dorf Haus, so the four of us stayed for dinner. I asked Light Bright if it was OK to put a picture of her baby on this blog, and she said sure, everyone else is plastering his photos all over MyFace, so here is Corban:

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 17, 2015

Imaginary Xtranormal Movie

I have nothing to blog about today, so I was going to create an Xtranormal movie, since I still had some money in my account. However, Xtranormal apparently ceased to exist in 2013. Did you know that? I sure didn't. Did they send me an email I missed? So I'll just have to describe the cute little animated movie I was going to make.

Scene 1: a hippy chick gets onto the bus and sits next to a woman who looks like a librarian. The librarian says, "Charlie! What have you been up to?"
(Famous Hat is surprised that Charlie and Ms. Librarian would even know each other.)
Charlie: "I'm learning to train tigers."
Librarian: "Really? How do you even learn to do something like that?"
Charlie: "I have experience training horses. Honestly, the hardest part was getting the commercial driver's license because the circus wants the trainers to also drive the trucks they haul the tigers around in."

Scene 2: Paris, France. Famous Hat is discussing odd conversations she has overheard with some other people. She recounts the story of Charlie and the Librarian.
Another Person: "Hey, I know Charlie!"
Famous Hat: "Really? Is she still training tigers?"
Another Person: "I doubt it. She just got married."

Perhaps I have already bored you with this 100% true story, but I thought it might have made a cute Xtranormal movie. Unfortunately, you will just have to imagine it.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, December 16, 2015

Photos of Green Bay and Christmas Lights

Today was a fun day at work, because the director of the whole place took us out for pie at the Norske Nook, since we published a cookbook of their famous pies. I tried to order a slice to take home for Travalon on my own bill, but the director heard me, and he said, "No, put it on my bill." What a generous guy!

As promised, here are some photos. First are a couple of shots of a harpsichord at a concert Tiffy, OK Cap, and I attended a few weeks ago.

This is Brett Favre's bronze football at the Packer Hall of Fame:

This lovely shrine is in St. Willibrod, the church where Vince Lombardi attended daily Mass. I took some shots of the interior of the church, but they didn't turn out as well.

This is the Shrine of Our Lady of Good Help, just north of Green Bay:

This is the Christmas tree in the State Capitol:

And this is the flute band playing in the Capitol. Notice the very large flute on the far right side of the picture, which is shaped like the number 4.

This is my church decorated for Our Lady of Guadalupe. It is decorated differently every year.

Here are some shots of Christmas lights - a house in my neighborhood, and two shots of the most impressive one in town, with moving lights. (I should have made a movie! Maybe I still can...)

And finally, a not very good movie I shot of the Santa Clauses (and one reindeer) on bikes that we kept seeing go by all day long on Saturday:

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

A Very Baroque Weekend

I apologize for my silence yesterday – I had a bad cold and didn’t even have the energy to blog. Today, however, I am feeling much better and will recount my music-filled weekend to my 5.6 readers.

Friday evening the Dairyman’s Daughter, Tiffy, and I met at Swagat Indian Restaurant for dinner, then we went to Blackhawk Church to see the Messiah performance which I have performed in previously. This was my first time experiencing it as an audience member, and I just loved it!

Saturday Travalon and I met Tiffy, Rich, and another woman for coffee, then Tiffy and I walked up State Street, which was a very festive place in anticipation of the holidays. We encountered a brass band playing Christmas carols, a choir of Epic employees singing Christmas carols, and inside the Capitol Building we saw an all-flute band playing – you guessed it – Christmas carols. The biggest flute was shaped like the number four. I took photos and will try to post them tomorrow. Then Tiffy and I met Rich for lunch at a Peruvian restaurant by the name of Crandall’s (which doesn’t seem like a Peruvian name, but who am I to judge?), and then she and I rode the free Holiday Trolley up and down State Street and around the Capital Square. We tried the Basque cake at Estrellon and then headed home to join Travalon for dinner at the Nau-Ti-Gal before we ladies headed to the Madison Bach Musicians’ Christmas Concert. Was I ever in Baroque music heaven this weekend! Afterwards Tiffy and I drove around and checked out the most impressive Christmas lights in town.

Yesterday I was not feeling so well. Tiffy took off after Mass and brunch, then I napped until Travalon agreed to go to the Christmas handbell concert with me, even if it meant missing the first half of the Packer game. We recorded it, anyway. We met Rich there and checked the score during intermission, but it was 0-0 so I said we weren’t missing anything. The first half of the concert featured some of my favorite carols, and the second half was even more fun – Christmas music from all over! My favorite was a Caribbean number, but there were also cool ones from Taiwan and Africa. (Sorry, country not specified – I’m aware Africa is a whole continent, but that is all they told us about it.) We checked the Packer score as soon as the concert was over, and they were leading the Cowboys by two touchdowns, so clearly we had missed something. We headed to the East Side Club to watch the rest of the game, and the Packers beat the Cowboys 28-7, then we went to the Melting Pot, a fondue restaurant, for dinner. When we got home, we watched the second quarter of the game to see those two touchdowns we had missed. Then I went to bed but couldn’t sleep, so yesterday I stayed home from work. Of course, it is our busiest time of the year, so not the time I want to be missing work… But I did get caught up today.

Famous Hat

Friday, December 11, 2015

Tudor Dinner

The Dairyman’s Daughter was planning to go to the Tudor Dinner at the Union last night with Richard Bonomo and another friend, but the third person backed out, so she asked if I wanted to go. I had gone once in the past, so I said sure. The dinner starts with hors d’oeuvres, and one of the first things was a cheese plate, but just after we passed it, they brought out a new one with both cheese and sausage. C’est la vie – we did get the mushroom pastries, which was my favorite part. They also had wassail, both spiked and virgin, to drink before dinner, as well as other beverages that you had to purchase. The dinner was a sit-down affair, and I felt underdressed in my sweater and jeans because so many people treated it like a black-tie affair. Of course, I had to walk over from work, so wearing a fancy cocktail dress and heels would not have been practical. The main course was pheasant AND lamb, which sounded like way too much meat to both the Dairyman’s Daughter and me, but she hadn’t seen anywhere to sign up for the vegetarian option when she registered. I did ask if they had any spare vegetarian entrees (mushroom ragout over polenta), and they did, so I got one. The salad before dinner, with craisins and gorgonzola cheese and a vinaigrette dressing, was so amazing that I had thirds. We also got two desserts, figgy pudding (which a lot of people didn’t like) and a frosted sugar cookie, both overwhelmingly sweet. Wine was extra, but you could have all the water you wanted with dinner, and after dinner they brought around coffee. During dinner the Philharmonic Chorus strolled around in small groups, serenading the tables with Christmas carols. Right before dinner they processed through the hall with a fake boar’s head, singing “The Boar’s Head Carol,” and they also sang a figgy pudding song before dessert. After we ate, they put on a whole concert of Christmas music, and we were also asked to sing along on a few familiar numbers. Every year they finish with Mozart’s “Dona Nobis Pacem” round. I would highly recommend the Tudor dinner, although it isn’t cheap. Still, food and music? How can you go wrong?

For those who think I only listen to early music (and hip hop), this morning I listened to Poulenc’s “Ave Verum Corpus,” Durufle’s “Tota Pulchra Es,” Herbeck’s “Pueri Concinite,” and of course Tavener’s “The Lamb.” And yes, I cried. If any of my readers are curious about these songs or any others I might mention, they can all be found on YouTube.   

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 10, 2015

Downton Abbey with American Accents

Today I had no idea what to blog about, so Travalon suggested Downton Abbey. I don’t know what to say about it, but last night after running (it’s true, I haven’t been able to get it in first thing in the morning this week), I turned on the TV to Stephen Colbert’s talk show, and he was interviewing three of the cast members. For anyone who watches the show, they were the actors who play Lord Grantham, Tom Branson, and Lady Mary. Colbert insisted the only reason Americans love the show is because of their “plummy” British accents, so he had them read a scene from the show using American accents. Hugh Bonneville kind of came across like a Texan, but Allen Leech could do a perfect Millennial slacker. It was so funny! I was snuggling Cashmere, and she must have wondered why I was laughing so hard. In case you would like to see this scene for yourself, I found it on YouTube:

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

In Tears

Today is the feast of the Immaculate Conception, and I will have to miss part of Irish class to go to Mass. I could have gone to the vigil Mass last night but was way too tired after working late, so this is the price I pay for my laziness. Hopefully Mass is somewhat brief so that I can actually get to Irish class before it is completely over! Speaking of laziness, last night Travalon and I did not go swimming (so I walked in place for an hour while watching Downton Abbey), and this morning I did not get up in time to run. Rich just sent an email that he is going to UGGH Club tomorrow morning, but that is undoubtedly at 6 am, and sorry, I just can’t do that. Hopefully Travalon and I can get ourselves to the health club tonight…

I have nothing in particular to blog about today, so let me tell all my readers what a dork I am – I was so excited when the Holiday Train arrived that I cried a little bit. Other things that reliably make me cry, but not in an unhappy way, are Tavener’s “The Lamb” and the part of our wedding video where Travalon and I are exchanging our vows. (Although I did not cry at the time, but maybe a little bit when the priest presented us at the end of the Mass as the “New Mr. and Mrs. Travalon.”) I even cried a little bit on New Year’s Day when the Badgers won the Outback Bowl and on Christmas Eve during “Silent Night,” which is not even a carol I particularly like. Believe me, it is not hard for me to cry at something sad, but what makes a person cry for joy? Am I getting more tearful as I get older? Perhaps everyone gets more sentimental with the march of time. Feel free to tell me in the comments if you cry more easily now than when you were younger.

Famous Hat

Monday, December 7, 2015

Travalon's 50th Birthday Party

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I certainly enjoyed the mild weather. Friday evening Travalon and I went to the East Side Club for their newly resurrected fish fry, and we had catfish with a Southern-style breading. It was good, but the very best part was the brandy old fashioned-flavored cheesecake. We were too full to eat them for dessert, so we took them to go and had them for breakfast the next day. Oh my goodness, were they delicious! We just love having dinner at the East Side Club, with its magnificent view of downtown and the Monona Terrace.

Saturday I had wanted to go see the Holiday Train, and its closest stop was Portage, so Travalon said we could go on the river walk there beforehand. We walked with Rodney along the river and then along the canal, and then we had lunch at a tavern right by the trail. There appeared to be only one waitress working, but she did a great job. We got to the train depot in time to see the Holiday Train pull in; it was covered with lights, but because it was such a beautiful sunny day, we couldn’t really see them. I was as excited as the little kids all around us – more, even – but I was less excited when a stage opened up in one of the cars and a country band played on it for about half an hour. Next year we will have to see the train in the dark, and maybe even ride on it! As it pulled out, Santa waved to us all from the end of it. You were supposed to donate food or money to the local food pantry while you were there, so I did make a monetary donation, since we had forgotten to bring any nonperishable food items.

In the evening, the guys had Steak Night, so I met with some ladies from the Slow Food group at a restaurant called Estrellon, which has a Spanish theme. They have lovely tapas, and the portions for the regular plates are also small, but they are so good that somehow they totally fill you up. The other four had the rainbow trout, but I had the grilled octopus, and we split vegetarian paella. Supposedly the Basque cake is amazing, but we were all too full to try it. I did have a beautiful and tasty cocktail made from a berry that grows in the Basque region.

Yesterday Travalon went to visit his family, so I went to the All-University Choral Holiday Concert with Richard Bonomo and Cecil Markovitch. (We thought Kathbert would be there too, but we never saw her.) This is a free event, and you have to get there early to grab a seat, so I was saving seats for Rich and Kathbert (only it turned out to be for Cecil), and a woman got really nasty about trying to take them from me. Why, I don’t know – there was a free seat right behind us, as I pointed out, so she finally relented and took it. I guess she just didn’t like that one as well. In the evening, Rich hosted a birthday party for Travalon. Kathbert, the Single B-Boy, the Rosary Ladies and Prairie Man, and a young couple from our church came and enjoyed chicken parmesan and black magic birthday cake. Travalon got lots of loot and a very funny card from Jilly Moose that said: “A long, long, long time ago…” and then you open it and it plays the Star Wars theme, and it says: “You were born!” He also got a musical card from Ma and Pa Hat; that one plays “Celebration” by Kool and the Gang, and it was a special 50th birthday card. Now that he has been properly feted, it is back to the real world – today he found out his favorite supervisor at work has left. Hopefully he gets an even better one…

Famous Hat

Friday, December 4, 2015

Hail Mary Pass

Did you watch that game last night? That game! What??? The first quarter, it appeared neither the offense nor the defense for the Pack had shown up to play, as they let the Lions quickly score 17 points. Then the defense started going to work, but the offense still couldn’t get anything going, so it was 20-0 at halftime in favor of the Lions. I looked online to see if the Packers could have been cursed and discovered, to my surprise, that when Mike Ditka wore that Packers sweater in a McDonald’s commercial, the Packers had stunk ever since so Bears fans were calling it the Ditka Sweater Curse. “I knew it!” I thought. “There really is a curse on them!”

But then, in the second half, things started to turn around, as if my awareness of the curse had broken it, just like that. Starks was running toward the goal line but fumbled, and just when I thought, “There they go again!” it was recovered in the end zone by Cobb – touchdown! Ugly and weird, but we’d take it! I was so relieved that it wasn’t going to be a shutout. Tiffy texted that miracles can happen, and I replied that at least it wouldn’t be a totally humiliating loss. Then the offense began racking up points while the defense held the Lions to one field goal. Rodgers even ran one in for a touchdown and got the longest run of the night. Why didn’t they put Lacy in? I’m sure I don’t know – he may have fumbled a couple of times in earlier games, but he was like the only thing going on for the offense in those games. Finally the score was 23-21, so the Packers just needed a field goal to win by one point, but they ran out of time and tried some weird lateral action, throwing the ball around and eventually getting it back to Rodgers. He was tackled – end of game… but wait! A flag! The guy who tackled him grabbed his facemask! We got one more down outside of time, so Rodgers got out of the pocket, evaded a couple of guys, and flung the ball so high and so far that it went almost 70 yards to the end zone, where the other Rodgers leapt up, caught it, and fell back into the end zone. Touchdown on a Hail Mary pass!! The Lions couldn’t believe it! (Sorry, Prairie Man.) I know the facemask call is a little controversial, but the refs missed a pass interference call against the Lions a few downs earlier, so what comes around, goes around. Anyway, there’s no arguing with Aaron Rodgers’ pass to Richard Rodgers – a perfect throw and perfect catch! Travalon and I couldn’t believe it, and Tiffy texted: “OMG!” It was Aaron Rodgers’ 32nd birthday the day before, so what a birthday present!

It has been quite a week for birthdays, not just Rodgers and of course Travalon’s big one, but Sunday my bunny Cashmere turned a decade old. How did I commemorate this momentous event? I gave her a piece of banana, just like every morning, and snuggled her in the evening while watching Downton Abbey.

One more odd note - for some reason my "Very Boring Post" is attracting a lot of attention from Ukrainian readers. Yesterday over 50 of them read it, unless it was the same person reading it 50 times. Still, of all the posts to read, why that one? The name implies how mundane it is.

Famous Hat

Thursday, December 3, 2015

Birthday Pilgrimage to Lambeau

Sorry for my silence yesterday. Tuesday was Travalon’s birthday, of course, but I had to work, so we just went out for a wonderful dinner at Samba, a Brazilian grill. They have the most amazing salad bar, and then waiters come around with things from the grill on skewers, generally different types of meat but I was most in love with the grilled pineapple. It had a touch of cinnamon, and oh, was it delicious! This has to be one of the best restaurants in town. They even gave Travalon a free dessert for his birthday, so he chose coconut custard. SO good! For his birthday present (besides dinner), I gave him a coffee table book about Green Bay and the Packers that I had gotten back on our pilgrimage to Lambeau Field when Anna Banana II was in the state.

Yesterday Travalon and I took a trip in honor of his birthday. He had been discussing going to either a water park in the Dells or sort of a museum day in Milwaukee, but he was inspired by the book I had given him and wanted to voyage to Green Bay to see Vince Lombardi’s old house and church. We drove up to Lambeau Field and toured the Packer Hall of Fame, which really drove home how historic the team is. Even if the Pack are lousy at the moment (or hopefully not – we’ll see if they can beat the Lions tonight), they have had many periods of greatness over the years. It seems like such a shame that all the other small-town teams were disbanded. An interesting note: because the Packers are a non-profit organization, they are the only team in the NFL that has to report revenue. Because of this, people base what they think other teams make on what they know the Packers make, but I wonder if their results are skewed, since the Pack have an unusually loyal fan base and so sell out every game and move a LOT of merchandise. In that spirit, Travalon and I went to the Packer Pro Shop and bought some stuff, like a Lambeau Field hoodie I am wearing today and a DVD about Vince Lombardi. We ate a late lunch at the restaurant there, which was very tasty, then we drove by Lombardi’s old house, which is a very nice house but nothing too ostentatious. Coaches then didn’t make the ridiculous salaries that they do now. We also went to St. Willibrord Church, where Lombardi went to daily Mass, and were somewhat surprised that there were two other Catholic churches within two blocks. I guess they were all started by different ethnicities; St. Willibrord is the historically Dutch church. Travalon and I had hoped to go to a state park with historical buildings, but by the time we figured out how to get to it, it had just closed. Instead, we went to Our Lady of Good Help shrine, where they were having exposition. On the way home we stopped in Fond du Lac to admire their Christmas decorations and grab a bite to eat, then we got home and watched the Lombardi DVD. This meant I got to bed too late, and this morning I got up with plenty of time to get to work, but no time to run. Maybe I’ll run tonight, while watching the Packers.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, December 1, 2015

50 Reasons I Love Travalon

Today Travalon turns 50. I can’t think of a clever poem to write, so instead I’ll write 50 reasons I love him:

  1. His smile
  2. His blue eyes
  3. His generosity
  4. His kindness
  5. The dinners he cooks for me
  6. The road trips he takes me on
  7. The secret places all over the state that he shows me
  8.  His love of nature
  9. His love of history
  10. His love of animals
  11. Because he always changes the rabbit’s cage
  12. The clever things he says
  13. Because he lets me change the radio station to my favorite shows
  14. Because he goes swimming with me even after a long day at work
  15. His work ethic
  16. His good nature
  17. Because he shares the sheets with me
  18. Because he reads my silly blog
  19. And because he even comments on it
  20. And because he even started one of his own
  21. His sense of adventure
  22. His love of good food and drink
  23. His curiosity about the world
  24. Because he understands that I need “girlfriend time”
  25. Because he likes my friends
  26. His masculinity, strong but not overbearing
  27. His love of the Packers
  28. His sense of wonder
  29. His love of music, even when our tastes don’t intersect
  30. His imitation of Julie Andrews
  31. His imitation of Tom Petty
  32. His love of water
  33. His funny texts
  34. His amazing gift-giving abilities
  35. His Anglophile tendencies
  36. His sense of humor about life
  37. His love of basketball, which I’m beginning to share
  38. How much he has to teach me about sports
  39. How much he has to teach me about Wisconsin
  40. His interest in staying active
  41. His decorating skills, e.g., with his Man Cave
  42. Because he doesn’t get on my case for my lack of domestic skills
  43. Because he vacuums and sweeps the floors
  44. Because he would be the best dad ever
  45. Because he is the most devoted son ever
  46. His love of travel
  47. His willingness to eat broccoli
  48. Because he tolerates all my plants
  49. Because he usually does the grocery shopping
  50. Because he believes in God and goes to church with me
That one is last, but not least, by any means. This is not a complete list, but just the first fifty things that popped into my head.

Famous Hat