Thursday, January 28, 2016

MyFace Fights

Perhaps I am a more combative person than I’d realized, because I seem to be getting into it with people on MyFace. Once Hardingfele posted something kind of antireligious, so I posted a comment about why her post was offensive to us believers, and then another friend of hers who was a rabid atheist (but who has apparently since become a Catholic) really got into it with me. Then my Dear Brother always posts anti-Packer things, and when I post a comment objecting, his fanatical Vikings follower buddy gets into it with me. This last time Dear Brother posted a list saying, “Can I get an amen for these?” and one of the things on the list was keeping abortion legal. I wouldn’t normally bother objecting to a pro-abortion post on MyFace, but I did think it was offensive to use religious terminology to push a baby-killing agenda. Of course some friend of his immediately got into it with me, which makes me wonder if the common denominator in this problem is MyFace or me. Do I just like to argue? I am generally not interested in stirring up drama, but boy when someone posts something offensive, I just can’t seem to stop myself from pointing out why it is offensive. And which is stranger, that these other people want to argue so badly, or that the original posters (Dear Brother and Hardingfele) seem puzzled that there even is a point of view other than the one they originally posted? Because they both seemed surprised that I would find the original posts objectionable. Or are they doing it on purpose to get lots of comments on their posts? I sometimes wonder with those two…

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Paintings of Cardinals

As promised, here are the paintings of cardinals we did on Saturday. First is mine, of a female cardinal:

Next is Tiffy's cardinal, which she said looks like a mascot for a sports team:

Finally, OK Cap's cardinal, which we all felt looked more like a woodpecker:

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

Doctorin' the Tardis

I always think of things to blog about at other times, and then when I'm actually sitting in front of my blog, they escape me and nothing else comes to mind. So at the request of absolutely nobody, I am posting the video of "Doctorin' the Tardis" that I mentioned in a previous post. The cheesy square Daleks with feet are just the best.

By the way, I'm sorry that previous videos I've posted on here no longer seem to be working. When I go into the draft of the post, they are still there so I'm mystified as to what the problem is.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 25, 2016

Painting Night

Happy Monday! How was your weekend? I can say this for mine: I managed to stay under my calorie budget every day. Friday evening Travalon and I went to the Nitty Gritty for Mamastep’s birthday party, and I had the same thing I’d had at OK Cap’s birthday party at the same location. We were even sitting at the same table, only it was put together with some other tables because Mamastep’s group was larger. The woman who had twins at age 51 was there, and she looked so tired that I wonder if having kids at my much younger but still advanced age is, as Hardingfele would say, “inadvisable.” I showed Mamastep the video of “Doctorin’ the Tardis,” which is hilarious – a police car from the 60’s drives into cardboard Daleks in between beautiful shots of English countryside. The song (if you can call it that) is basically Gary Glitter’s “Rock and Roll Part Two” with these guys going, “Dr. Who, Dr. Who! Dr. Who, and the Tardis!” over and over. Not a masterpiece, but apparently a #1 hit in the UK back in the late 80’s. What that says about the British taste in music, I’m not sure.

Saturday Tiffy came to visit, and she, Travalon, and I went to Sauk City to see bald eagles. We saw two sitting in the tree on the island in the river where last week we had seen one, and we also saw beautiful black and white diving ducks. An internet search of what these ducks could be is inconclusive, but my best guess is they were common goldeneyes. We had a late lunch at Cold Fusion, since I have now talked Tiffy into doing the health app and they have delicious salads there, and then Travalon left for a steak night at the Wunderbar with the guys while Tiffy, OK Cap, and I went to a painting night at the Nau-Ti-Gal. After a drink called a "Cardinal Cocktail" (185 calories), we were supposed to paint a cardinal sitting on a branch; I said, “As a Packer Backer, I find this image of a cardinal offensive,” but the instructor didn’t realize at first that I was joking. Since I am a rebel, I painted a female cardinal. At some point I will post photos of our masterpieces, although I have already texted them to most of the regular readers of this blog. By the time we got done, all the restaurants in the immediate area had stopped serving food, so Tiffy and I had a pizza delivered. I haven’t done that in years! My mean old health app only let me eat two slices, or I would have been running all night to work off the extra calories.

Yesterday started in a dramatic fashion when our parish priest collapsed during the homily. This is now the fourth time I’ve seen him collapse during Mass, and Rich says he did it recently at another church too. Maybe it’s time he sees a doctor or something… Then Tiffy took me to Graze for a birthday brunch. After she headed home, Travalon and I went to the chocolate shop at Hilldale (225 calories for hot chocolate and two pieces of chocolate), then we saw the movie Bridge of Spies at the cheap theater, and we both highly recommend it. It is the true story of an insurance lawyer who had to negotiate a prisoner swap during the height of the Cold War. Afterwards we had a delicious dinner at Oliva, a Mediterranean restaurant, and then I ran through the entire episode of Downton Abbey to burn off all those calories. It was worth it! I’d definitely rather do more exercise than deny myself delicious food.

Famous Hat

Saturday, January 23, 2016

Two Cute Photos

Here are two cute pictures. The first one is of Rodney, when he got into the bathroom and somehow gave himself a sash of toilet paper to wear:

This is an adorable classic snowman I see on my rosary walk every day:

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 21, 2016

Ode to January

Sorry that I didn’t blog yesterday, it’s just that I had nothing to say. Remember the days when I was wildly creative on this blog? Yeah, me neither, but I do feel like my older posts were a little more interesting than my most recent ones, which are all either a recounting of my weekends or what I’m doing for exercise. Speaking of exercise, I was surprised to find out that on an average day at work, I walk two miles in my short jaunts around the building. That doesn’t even include the mile walk I try to take at lunch most days, though not when it is so cold outside. Today was a little warmer, but I must have forgotten my cuddly rosary in the jacket of another coat, because it wasn’t in my backpack, so I didn’t take a rosary walk outside. I just closed the door of my office and sat on the comfy couch my former boss rescued, and that’s how I prayed the rosary. See, isn’t this an exciting blog post? Maybe it’s time for another poem:

I’ve got nothing to say,
It was an average day
And the weather is cold,
Which is getting quite old.
It can sure seem
Like a January dream
That goes on and on
Until your sanity is gone.
I used to think
January didn’t stink
Because, you know, hey,
It contains my birthday.
But then I got older,
And it seems even colder,
So why bother to be true
To a month that makes me blue?
I’d like January fine
If I were drinking wine
On the shores of the sea
Underneath a palm tree!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 19, 2016

How the Packers Ended Their Season

I hope my readers had a great weekend. Mine was a long one, because I got Martin Luther King Day off of work. So why didn’t I blog with that extra time? Who knows? Laziness, I guess. Saturday Travalon had to work until the early afternoon, then we drove out to Sauk City to see bald eagles. We did see one bald eagle, and an old friend of mine I hadn’t seen in over a decade, although we are MyFace friends. We also went to Mass out there that evening, so that we could sleep in on Sunday and not face the -6 F weather. In the evening we went to Cold Fusion to watch the Packers playoff game. Once again Aaron Rodgers threw a Hail Mary pass, this time to Janis, to get them into overtime. Unfortunately the Cardinals won the coin toss and easily scored a touchdown, so that’s how our season ended. Still, it wasn’t a terrible one, just very uneven at times.

Sunday Travalon and I holed up at home until late morning, when we ventured out to the Northside Restaurant for brunch. He thought about going to the Badgers basketball game but didn’t want to face the long, cold walk from wherever he could find parking to the Kohl Center, so we watched it on TV. The Badgers won by one point! It was against Michigan State (I think…?), a very good team. In the evening we went to a young couple’s house to play a role-playing game, which I had never done before. As I may have mentioned, my character is a bard named Iconostasia. This game is so much fun because it’s all about cooperation, not competition. Whenever one of us would get into trouble, all the others would see how they could help. That’s my kind of game!

Yesterday Travalon had to work, so I met Richard Bonomo for coffee before my adoration hour, and then afterwards he and I worked out. I generally avoid the health club during January because there are so many New Year’s resolution people there (but they give it up for Lent, so it’s safe to go back then), and indeed it was packed. The kids must have been off of school too, because there were tons of them there, many seemingly unsupervised. Antoshka is visiting from Ukraine, so I talked to him back at Rich’s house while Rich made us real hot chocolate. He says life back in Ukraine is a little tense, with the Russians trying to take the place back over. I can imagine! I got home just before Travalon and took Rodney on a very cold walk, then we spent a quiet evening at home. At least it is a little warmer today…

Famous Hat

Friday, January 15, 2016

Living on a (Caloric) Budget

This health app that Light Bright, Jilly Moose, and I are doing makes calorie counting easy to do. I think of it like money: at the start of every day I have a set budget that I can spend, and I earn more every day by walking 10,000 steps. Tonight Travalon and I went to the Nau-Ti-Gal, and I had baked cod and vegetables, which didn't spend too much of my calorie budget. However, they gave me a cheese biscuit I hadn't budgeted for, and of course I had to put butter on it, which cost even more calories. The whole reason we had gone there was because I had a coupon for a free dessert for my birthday, and I had budgeted for one slice of key lime pie. However, somehow I had gone way over budget so after we got home I had to "work overtime" and earn some more calories back. The only way to do that, of course, is to move, so we put on a Boz Scaggs DVD and I ran to it. Now I have gone 16,500 steps today. One thing doing this health app has taught me is that I am the type of person who would rather have the pie and then run for two hours than say no to the pie.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Not Powerball Winners

Well, Travalon and I did not win the Powerball drawing. I did once buy a ticket when the jackpot was large, and I matched the Powerball, so I won $2, which was what the original ticket cost. Today Travalon bought a ticket, and we just compared the numbers now, but not one of them matched. It looks like tomorrow I will be going to my job, and the day after that, and the day after that. Or actually not that day, since that's Saturday. Good thing I kind of like my job. Let someone who really needs it win the Powerball - Travalon and I don't actually need a billion dollars, or whatever ridiculous amount the jackpot was up to. We aren't starving.

Today Travalon found out on MyFace that a friend of his had died. He now has three friends on there who are dead, but their pages are still up. I have a contingency plan for this blog in the case of my unfortunate demise: I have put my password into an envelope, which I will give to Richard Bonomo. He can put a message on this blog that I have passed on. So watch this space if you are wondering whether I am still alive.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 12, 2016

Bleak Midwinter

Yesterday morning I was doing my prayers when Travalon came in and said, "What a way to start the new year! David Bowie is dead!" I was shocked, since he had just had a birthday two days earlier, and I hadn't heard he was sick... but as it turns out, nobody really knew he had terminal cancer. Travalon is a big fan and once saw Bowie perform live in Moline, IL. Right now he is watching a DVD of Bowie in concert. It is already kind of depressing right now because it is so cold, and everyone is taking down their Christmas lights. The holidays are over, but it will be months before it is warm out again. Today at work I was so overwhelmed with tasks that I called Travalon, and he came and took me out to lunch at the Laurel Tavern. That made for a wonderful break in an otherwise bleak day. Walking to Irish class, I was so cold that I had to hide my face in my coat. Winter is definitely not my favorite season!

Famous Hat

Monday, January 11, 2016

90th Birthday Party with Steel Drum Guy

I hope my readers had an enjoyable weekend. Saturday morning Jilly Moose and I drove to Watertown in Chartreuse Bruce to attend a coffee class at Beres Brothers Brewing. We learned how coffee is roasted, and the different ways you can brew it, and we tried samples of the different brewing methods. I preferred most of them to the old-skool drip method, but they are all more expensive and labor-intensive. Chartreuse Bruce gets satellite radio, so on the way there and back we were listening to R&B and hip hop – it was fantastic! We had healthy salads at the Nau-Ti-Gal, since we are doing that health app and have to enter everything we eat into the app. Travalon, meanwhile, was at a heartbreaking Badgers basketball game; they lost by three points. In the evening he and I joined some Slow Food people to tour Bos Meadery and try some mead, and then we walked not even a block to Julep, a new Southern food restaurant. Travalon and I split the shrimp and grits and a slice of sweet potato pie, so after we got home, he put on a Steely Dan DVD and I ran for two hours to work off that dinner, according to the health app. I may not be eating any healthier, but I sure am getting more exercise since starting this app!

Yesterday was so much fun. Travalon and I drove to Oconomowoc for his mother’s 90th birthday party (her actual birthday is today); he hired the live music, a guy who plays the steel drum, and one of his brothers brought cupcakes for everyone. The whole family was there, as well as many residents of the place where my mother-in-law lives. The steel drum player was a huge hit, because his music is not so loud that people can’t carry on conversations, but if you want to be up close and listen, it’s such great, cheerful music. It made us feel like we were in the tropics, even on such a cold day. The day continued to get better when the Vikings lost their playoff game. The Packers started out the way they have lately, with no offense whatsoever, and I was afraid they would do that thing they do when they come to life in the fourth quarter and almost make a comeback. However, they came to life in the second quarter, in plenty of time to handily defeat the Redskins. In the evening, the Rosary Ladies (and associated husbands) had a birthday party for OK Cap at the Nitty Gritty. We even had party hats and Mardi Gras beads, thanks to Luxuli and Prairie Man. They have the cutest little sundaes there, and they aren’t very many calories due to their tiny size, so most of us indulged. That evening I only needed to go my required 10,000 steps to burn off what I’d eaten, not almost 15,000 like the previous two days. Is that improvement? 

Famous Hat

Friday, January 8, 2016

Strict Health App

Light Bright found a health app that she wanted us to download, and it was free, so yesterday I did. It turns out Jilly Moose also uses this app, and Tiffy is interested in it, so maybe there will be a group of us doing it. Yesterday I didn't eat that much, so I actually had 300 spare calories, even though I didn't get anywhere near the app's goal of 10,000 steps. Today I was doing alright, even after a small piece of coconut cake Handy Woman had made in honor of two birthdays (mine and another coworker's). This evening Travalon, Jilly Moose, and I went to an old-school diner for fish fry, but I got the grilled perch, and then cottage cheese and broccoli for my two sides, and according to the health app I still had about 300 calories to spare. Jilly Moose looked up small malts on her phone, and she thought they would be about 250 calories, so I ordered a small chocolate malt. However, when I entered it into my app, it was a LOT more than that, so I had to work off over 200 calories. After Travalon and I came home, he put on a DVD we are currently watching called "The Dukes of September," featuring Boz Scaggs, Michael McDonald (of Doobie Brothers fame), and Donald Fagan (of Steely Dan fame), singing their own hits and other wonderful songs, like "Who's That Lady?" I ran and ran to the music, and I did manage to burn off all those calories, after almost 14,000 steps. But this app is going to kill me! We'll see if I actually lose any weight following its strict dictates...

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 7, 2016

More Christmas Photos

I don't really have anything to say today, so let me just post some more Christmas photos. First is a picture of me ready to go to the Christmas party at work. I bought an ugly Christmas sweater, but nobody thought it was ugly! Personally, I think I look better in photos when I am not smiling, but nobody else agrees with me about this.

This is a Christmas light display in Roxbury. I just love how the giant snowman seems to be bowing to Jesus in the manger.

This is a shot of Rich's Christmas tree from his loft. He now has a topper on the tree which looks like a finial you might see on a stairway bannister.

This shot is not as good as I'd hoped, but you can sort of get the idea of the large Christmas tree outside of the welcome center in Galena.

And finally, this has nothing to do with Christmas per se, but I did promise a photo of the giant cuddly rosary knitted by Ma Hat. Sorry the lighting in this photo isn't so good, so you can barely make out the darker-color beads, but you can at least get a sense of the size of the rosary. It is very enjoyable to snuggle against and pray with on a lazy Sunday afternoon, or when I am under the weather.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Random Thoughts on Race

I am a white person, and there are two kinds of my fellow white people I don’t understand: those who hate all black people, and those who really, really want black friends. As far as the first group is concerned, my personal experience with this was when I was in college, and the OJ Simpson “Not Guilty” verdict was handed down. I was so mad that I thought, “I’m never going to talk to a black person again!” That lasted about fifteen minutes, until I got on the bus and an acquaintance of mine, who was always a ball of sunshine and had the most endearing gap between her front teeth, sat next to me and said, “Famous! How’s it going?” In that moment, it was utterly impossible to hate her for a crime committed by another person who happened to be the same color she was, and that made me realize how ridiculous the whole concept of hating someone for their color was. Seriously, people are people, and the good and bad ones come in all colors.

The other kind of white people mystify me even more. They are always politically liberal and seem to put black people on a pedestal. I certainly have no issue with cross-racial friendships, having some myself, but why would you seek out someone’s friendship specifically because of their race? I can see having a fascination with a different culture, and I’ve known people like that and can understand where they are coming from, but this is something different. It has nothing to do with culture and, apparently, everything to do with skin tone. It’s like they need to have a certain number of friends in the “black” column, which seems kind of as racist as hating someone for being black. Shouldn’t we be friends because we enjoy one another’s company and not because it makes us feel self-righteous? Or, as Cookie Monster says, “Friend is someone you share last cookie with!” A friend is someone you love because of his or her particular qualities, not because of – or in spite of – skin color. 

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

Winter Rosary Walks

I am not a fan of winter. The cold is terrible, and snow is no fun to drive in, but what has really been bad the last couple of weeks is the ice everywhere. However, I haven’t let that stop me from doing my lunchtime rosary walk, and the perfect rosary to use is the cuddly rosary Ma Hat made for me – the prototype, not the giant one. (Did I ever post a photo of the giant one? Perhaps I have been remiss in that regard. I will rectify that soon.) The beads are big enough to use while wearing gloves, and because it is soft, it easily fits into a coat pocket. Today the temperature was 24 F and supposedly felt like 16 F with the wind chill, but I went for my walk and found it wasn’t that bad. The sun was out, and it felt good to get some sunshine, fresh air, and exercise, even if it was a bit nippy. Rosary Ladies, if any of you are reading this, the cuddly rosaries from Ma Hat are perfect for winter praying outside. Anyone else reading this, let me know if you would like a cuddly rosary to pray while walking in winter. They are also perfect for praying in bed.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 4, 2016

Happy 2016!

Happy 2016! Did all my readers have a good New Year’s Eve? Travalon and I went up to his high school buddy’s place in Waupun, and then we went with him and his wife to a supper club in Fond du Lac, where we met up with another couple. Afterwards we went to their house and were joined by yet another couple, and the women played games in the kitchen while the men watched college football bowl games in the family room. How about those bowl games this year? They were all so ridiculously lopsided, except for the Badgers game. They won that one at the last minute by two points.

New Year’s Day we had a lazy morning at Travalon’s buddy’s house, then we drove back to Madtown and went to the 4:00 pm Mass at the hospital, just like last year. Afterwards we went to my OTHER choir director’s (or should that be ex-choir director’s?) new apartment, which is very swanky, for his annual open house with tons of desserts he bakes himself. Of course I had to try everything, so then I went home and ran hard for two miles to salsa music. That night I felt very healthy.

It wouldn’t last. Saturday I woke up with a cold. Travalon and I went to Starsucks Coffee because I got a free drink for my birthday, and I had to redeem it by today. Then we hit the road and drove to Mineral Point, to visit the Celtic store we both enjoy so much. The only thing I ended up getting was soap, but Travalon found tea and a book he wanted. We drove on to Galena and walked around, enjoying the (relatively) good weather. At least it was sunny for the first time in weeks! Travalon found a store he loved called Strawberry Lane, full of 60’s stuff. He got his high school buddy (the one we saw for New Year’s Eve) a Twilight Zone lunchbox, and I saw a Tardis knit winter cap for all the Dr. Who fans out there. Travalon took me to the General Restaurant in the De Soto Hotel for my birthday dinner, and I got a free dessert for my birthday, so we split a slice of chocolate peanut butter cake. By the time we were done with dinner, the Christmas lights were glowing. Galena and Mineral Point are charming places any time of year, but at Christmas they are downright magical. We stopped into Mineral Point on the way back to check out their Christmas lights, and the little brewery we love was beautifully decorated, so we stopped in for a quick drink, and to split a piece of red velvet cake. Hey, if we split two desserts, that averages out to one dessert for each of us, right? We will be more virtuous starting today.

Yesterday was my birthday, and it started out very strangely when our parish priest got so sick during Mass that he couldn’t finish, and someone called the paramedics. This is now the third time I have seen such a thing, and at least this time he sat down before he fainted. The deacon said it counted for our Sunday Mass obligation, even though we didn’t get past the Creed. With the ensuing chaos, it lasted as long as a regular Mass, and the deacon did distribute previously consecrated communion. Then I was still feeling a little under the weather, so I had a wonderfully relaxing time praying my giant snuggly rosary while cuddling against two Santa bears from my youth, all under the blanket Travalon once gave me for Valentine’s Day that has “I love you” in four languages written all over it. I did feel well enough to have a small party later in the afternoon, but Light Bright decided not to come because she doesn’t want to expose her baby to germs before his vaccinations, which I totally get. The party was at Rich’s house, and he made chicken parmesan and black magic birthday cake, and Cecil Markovitch brought ice cream. Kathbert, Luxuli, Prairie Man, and Jilly Moose attended as well, and I even got some presents. Travalon and I decided to tape the Downton Abbey season premiere and watch the Packer game, but the Packers did that thing they do where they don’t really start to play until the fourth quarter, and then they suddenly catch up… or almost do, in this case. They did lose, so the Vikings are the NFC North champions this year. Bummer!

Famous Hat