Tuesday, January 31, 2017

Losing My Addictions

There is a book by Malcolm Gladwell called Outliers that contends that one must put 10,000 hours of practice into a skill in order to become really proficient at it. I have not read the book myself but am familiar with the theory, and the other day I was thinking that the one thing I have put that many hours into was writing fiction. I started very young and sometimes dedicated entire days to it, whenever I got a chance. However, a few years ago I lost all interest in writing fiction. Why didn’t I put that much time into practicing music? I am still a semiprofessional musician, making tens of dollars by playing in public, so just think what that practice could have done for me. Maybe I could have been less semi and more professional and made as much as hundreds of dollars playing in public. What do I do with all that writing practice? I write this blog, and I write in my prayer journal and my regular diary Mariah, but it’s not fiction. Now I don’t even find writing fiction pleasurable. What happened to me? Why did I put so much time into something I would grow to detest? I don’t even really read fiction anymore, when I used to devour novels. Is this just part of maturing? Or did something really weird happen to me? Did aliens switch my brain with someone else’s? I’m not even a word game puzzle addict anymore, though I will do Sudoku or a crossword puzzle when I come across them. It’s so odd, in other ways I have not changed at all, but I’ve lost some of my addictions to such an extent that I don’t even pursue these activities in moderation. Anyone have any thoughts about this? Will I learn to love fiction again someday? Feel free to leave comments, and I will read them even if they are fictional.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 30, 2017

Lucky Weekend

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine was lovely and relaxing, starting with a ukulele newbies jam on Friday evening just a few blocks from my house. Talk about convenient! Saturday morning the Rosary Ladies got together for coffee (with Rich and Travalon), then we prayed a rosary together, and then OK Cap, Travalon, and I tried a new Mexican restaurant right by our church. Travalon and I went to a winter festival at the East Side Club that was a fundraiser for a local food pantry, and we bought $10 worth of raffle tickets. I put a couple in a prize package that wasn’t very popular, and I won! So we got $40 worth of taxi vouchers, which is a pretty good return on $10 that goes to charity. The package also included two bags, one T-shirt, one tire gauge, four bottle cozies, and a baseball cap all emblazoned with the logo of the taxi company. And the woman sitting next to us at the bar bought me a drink! In the evening we went to a spaghetti dinner at the Catholic church in Monona with a bunch of guys: Cecil Markovitch, Rich, Twins Fan, Trinidad Cap, the Single B-Boy, and Mr. N’Awlins. Boy, did I feel outnumbered, but it is a lot of fun to see those guys joke around. Afterwards we went to the Avenue Bar for ice cream drinks, and Cecil really enjoyed the old R&B music they were playing in the background. We forgot all about the fireworks at the Union Terrace to celebrate Chinese New Year, but a coworker went to see them and she said she never saw any, so we missed nothing.

Yesterday was such a relaxing day. We went out to see the eagles in Prairie du Sac again, and Travalon just got satellite radio in his car so he let me listen to my favorite station (The Fly, playing hip hop from the 90’s and 00’s) on the way there. (To be fair, on the way back, we listened to his choice for music.) I call the 00’s “the ohs,” but on The Fly they call them “the two-thousands,” which is quite a mouthful. Some people call them the Naughty Aughties, and I was in my Dirty Thirties during the Naughty Aughties, so I like that. We saw a couple of eagles sitting in a tree across from the VFW park, and some flying around by the dam, but I hope the bass from The Fly didn’t scare them off! Then we relaxed at home, and I colored in an adult coloring book. They are all the rage lately, and now I can see why – they are so much fun! In the evening Travalon and I went to Imperial Garden for a Chinese New Year dinner. I had pot stickers because they are dumplings that look like money purses, and sea bass, because the word for fish sounds like the word for plenty in Mandarin. Those are traditional New Year’s foods for good luck. Of course I wore red too, but the restaurant does not have the moon cakes that are the lucky New Year’s dessert. They sell them at an Asian grocery store next door, owned by the same guy, but by then it was closed. Oh well. My favorite tradition was that we were supposed to pour each other’s tea to thank each other for sharing the meal. They told us that dates back to when the emperor would pour his servants’ tea to thank them for their service to him. So Saturday we had lots of luck, and yesterday we did all the right things to have a whole year's worth of good luck!

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 26, 2017

Chinese New Year Celebration

Today the university where I work had a Chinese New Year celebration, although the actual day is Saturday. They had a Hmong New Year celebration a couple of months ago, and that was pretty successful. I went to it, and the room was full. However, this one was such a success that it was almost a disaster – three times as many people showed up as they were expecting, at least, and they had to take down a movable wall to allow people to sit down. The line for food went on forever. I wore red, having had a vague impression that this was good luck on Chinese New Year – and I was right! The speaker commended all of us who wore red. The food was cheese and fruit and pretzels, nothing particularly Chinese, but the presentation was very interesting. The speaker talked about how all the traditional New Year food is symbolic because it looks like something else lucky, like dumplings that resemble the full moon or money purses, and how they eat fish because the word for fish is the same (except for the tones) as the word for abundance. Then another woman sang a song in Mandarin. I walked there and back, since the temperature was pretty reasonable for this time of year. There was a tiny sprinkling of snow, and one of the organizers told me she thought that would scare people away, but that was definitely not a problem! I wish all my readers good health and great luck during this year of the Fire Rooster.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Photos of Art, Birthdays, and a Protest

Time for another pictorial post! First is a shot of Travalon at the cigar bar:

These are a couple of shots from my birthday dinner with Tiffy and Rich. First is a shot of the flight of chartreuse, and second is my dessert with a candle. I did actually end up trading desserts with Tiffy, so she ate this.

This is a gentleman from the protest on Saturday:

Here are two shots from Mamastep's birthday. First is Travalon holding her present, since I thought the shop wrapped it so prettily. Second is Mamastep's birthday cake - can you tell she is into steampunk?

Finally, here are the masterpieces we created at Fired Up. During our first trip, Jilly Moose painted the moose she named Maxwell and also created the frame to hold a picture of her baby niece and nephew.

And here are the bowl and pendant she made during our most recent trip.

Tiffy made this spoon holder. To me, it has a kind of "feng shui" feel to it.

I made this soap dish and star ornament. I love Fired Up! If I could afford it, I would make something there every week!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, January 24, 2017

Mr. Icon's Birthday Party

Mr. Icon is visiting from Alaska, and last night Rich had some people over for cake and ice cream to celebrate his birthday. How lame am I? I didn’t give him anything, and he gave me two hand-knitted rainbow potholders made by the little old ladies up in Alaska who knit all the time. They also made the spiral winter hats that I often wear. I do get a lot of compliments on those hats. Mr. Icon had lots of great stories about Alaska; for example, he has been to Barrow, up on the north coast, and he says it is just a giant, dirty trailer park but expensive because so many tourists go there. He also had lots of cool pictures of his home on Kodiak. He is supposedly in town for another week, so watch this space for more Mr. Icon stories/pithy sayings. (He had some really funny lines last night, but right now I can’t remember any of them.) If we ever get back to Alaska, we’ll have to go visit him on Kodiak. It sure is beautiful.

The other evening Travalon was watching something on TV about King Henry VIII divorcing his first wife, and I wasn’t paying too much attention, but I perked up when they began playing “Praeter Rerum” by Josquin Des Prez in the background. This struck me as really weird because the song is a) French, b) quite a bit earlier (I think), and c) a Christmas song, so what has it got to do with a British king’s divorce? When I mentioned it to Lute Player, she said that was probably a TV show that is so renowned for its historical inaccuracy that there is a whole website devoted to its errors. However, Travalon did not remember it being that particular show, so maybe there are a whole slew (a great word, from Irish) of shows about the Tudors just bursting with historical inaccuracies. Or maybe King Henry VIII, who I understand was a real Francophile, would have listened to a lot of Josquin, and maybe he got divorced around Christmastime. I guess it’s possible that the piece was related to the story.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 23, 2017

Great Big Protest

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Travalon and I decided on Friday to save some money by having fish at home, but then we saw that the Parched Eagle, a little brewpub near our house, was having live music, so we went over there to hear a really good bluegrass band. Now I don’t feel bad when professional musicians are better than I am, since they have dedicated their lives to music and I am something of a dilettante, but these guys all had day jobs and yet they were way better than I am. The mandolin player was not very sober, and he still played way better than I do, and it goes without saying that their fiddler was better than I am. (She was also much taller.) Sometimes I feel a little bad, thinking that maybe if I practiced more, I could be good myself, but then our band hasn’t had practice in a month so there you go. How will we ever improve?

Saturday morning I made omelets for Travalon and myself, then we went downtown to check out the big protest. As my regular readers no doubt remember, I posted quite a bit about the protests in 2011 against Act 10, but this dwarfed any of those. We didn’t actually march, since I wasn’t in agreement with the whole pro-choice vibe of the march, but it was fun being in the midst of it all. The protest was peaceful with lots of clever signs, like “We shall overcomb!” After that we went to the Sugar River Distillery for Mamastep’s birthday party. It was a big one, but I won’t say which one, except to say she had a huge, very pretty black holographic balloon with the number in silver on it. Way too much food, including fry bread tacos and white Russian cake. I hadn’t realized it was a potluck, but Mamastep said, “Don’t worry – there’s plenty of food!” We played a game called Exploding Kittens, and I gave the birthday girl a flask that says something like, “I foresee the opportunity to make lots of bad choices!” It was a really fun day, and we got lots of exercise walking all over downtown, plus the weather was so unseasonably warm. It felt good to be outside for most of the day.

Yesterday Travalon and I joined Cecil Markovitch and Richard Bonomo at a pancake breakfast at St. James church after Mass, then we went home and watched that very sad game. The whole first half it was like the Packers hadn’t even shown up to play. However, a close loss might have been worse because then we would have thought of how close we had gotten to the Super Bowl, and does it really matter anyway? Whoever won is just going to lose to the stupid Patriots, although I will be pulling for Atlanta to beat them and finally win their first Super Bowl. To cheer up, Travalon and I went to see the movie Moana, and I recommend everyone see this movie. It was so wonderful! The animation is gorgeous, and the story about a young girl finding the courage to save her people is compelling. It makes me want to go to the South Pacific myself – how about right now?

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 19, 2017

Online Party (I Am a Winner!!)

Yesterday I was invited to an online party, so I chatted for an hour with a bunch of people I don’t know. The topic of the party was avoiding “adultitis,” so people posted questions like, “What is the silliest thing you have done lately?” and “What do you sing to make yourself happy?” I posted a picture of my little snowman and got some interesting suggestions for naming him, like Summer and Saki (get it? “Sock-y”?), and several people suggested Pilly because he looks like the Pillsbury Doughboy. How about Frost-toe the Snowman? Tiffy and Kathbert both thought of Sockitume, and Ma Hat suggested Toby, which is cute and has that added pun dimension for a sock snowman of Toe-by. So then I thought maybe Tobit, or possibly Benji, because he is full of rice and Uncle Ben’s is a famous brand of rice. Kathbert suggested a Lutheran hymn writer named Hans Sachs (pronounced Socks), but she also suggested combining Toby and Benji into Benito, which is kind of cute. Anyway, the snowman still does not have a name, but during the online party I entered a contest, which was to comment on the organizer’s question: “What are you optimistic about?” Other people said 2017 or their new job, things like that, but I just said, “Everything!” and I guess the organizer liked my attitude, because I won a T-shirt!! It has a picture of a cartoon bee on it and says: “Bee optimistic.” I am optimistic that it will arrive in the mail soon, and then I will take a selfie while wearing it and post it on this blog. Yay! What a fun online party!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 18, 2017

Big Plant in My Office

A coworker of mine recently brought some plants in to work, including two large dumb canes, and a couple of other coworkers chopped one up and are trying to root new plants from it. I took the intact one and put it in my office, right by the door, but every time I walked by, it gave me an electric shock. Also, I kept thinking someone was standing in the doorway when I saw it out of the corner of my eye, since it is about the height of a tall person. One coworker was concerned that it wouldn’t get enough sun across the office from the window, so she suggested that I move it to a nook between my desk and a file cabinet. This brings it much closer to the window and also means I don’t brush against it and get shocked every time I go into or out of my office. It also doesn’t make me think someone is watching me, since a person could be lurking in my doorway, but nobody ever stood in that nook. Besides, when I am at my desk the plant is right in my view and not in my peripheral vision, so I would never mistake it for a human being. It gives the office a wonderful jungle feeling, and maybe it even cleans the air. They say keeping plants in your office helps clean the air, so it stands to reason that a very large one would clean the air more. Who needs an air purifier when you have a giant plant?

Famous Hat

Monday, January 16, 2017

Cigar Bar and Chartreuse Flight

I hope that my readers had a good weekend. I had an excellent one. It started when Travalon and I went to the East Side Club for their fish fry on Friday, and we got $10 off our bill for my birthday. Then we went to a cigar bar called Drackenburg's and enjoyed a cigar. I wanted the smallest one, but it was by no means the cheapest one, which probably means it was pretty high quality. It sure was a wonderful cigar!

Saturday Travalon and I met Rich, Jilly Moose, and OK Cap for coffee, then the ladies and I checked out a sale at the fair trade shop, prayed the rosary, and had lunch at Himal Chuli while Travalon checked out the newly reopened Union. Tiffy joined us for lunch, then she, Jilly Moose, and I went to Fired Up pottery and did more fused glass. I made a soap dish that I love and an ornament that is okay, but maybe it will be better after it is fired. In the evening Travalon went to a high school basketball game while Tiffy, Rich, and I went to L'Etoile for my birthday. I had been there for my anniversary last May and had raved about it, so Tiffy took me to dinner there so she could try it. They even had a flight of chartreuse, so I splurged and bought myself that. I let Rich and Tiffy try it, and they didn't hate it, which is something. Rich always says green chartreuse is the most vile stuff he's ever tasted. Dinner was amazing, and they put a candle on my dessert for my birthday. It was so wonderful!

Sunday after Mass Travalon and I went to Plaka for their Greek take on brunch, then we drove to Prairie du Sac and saw lots of eagles: two sitting in the tree on the island where they like to hang out, one in a tree across the river from the VFW park, and several flying around by the dam. We took Rodney for a short walk by the river, then we watched the first half of the Packer game at home. First the Packers were dominating the Cowboys, but then they got sloppy and let them catch up. We went to the Parched Eagle to watch the second half, hoping to find some other fans there, but everyone had just left and only the bartender was there. In the end the Packers had to kick a field goal as time was running out, but the Cowboys called a time out just as Mason Crosby kicked a good one, so he had to do it again. This time it looked like he had kicked it too far to the left, but in midair it suddenly turned and went through the goalposts, and the Packers move on in the playoffs! After the game Travalon and I walked over to Mariner's, which was very quiet that night so the waitstaff treated us like royalty even though all I ordered was a plate of asparagus. Travalon had his favorite hot chocolate drink with Rumchata. It was a lovely ending to a wonderful weekend.

Today I actually had the day off of work, so Rich and I met for coffee, then we went to my adoration hour, and then we walked up to the Capital for the Martin Luther King tribute. I cried through a lot of it, especially when the bagpipes came out and then they played "Taps" on the bugle... and then I found out I was shown on TV! How embarrassing! Although Mamastep informs me that at the time they captured me on camera, I was happy and singing along with the gospel singers. Then Rich and I worked out at the downtown gym where we have reciprocity with our regular gym, and we had power shakes there for lunch. After that we went to Mass, and hardly anyone was there, probably because of the strange weather. The sidewalk was so icy that all that walking around downtown was quite treacherous! Hopefully tomorrow the weather is a little better...

Famous Hat

Friday, January 13, 2017

What Should I Name My Snowman?

I used to be so quick to name everything – and I mean everything, longtime blog readers will remember my paper shredder named Shiva after the Hindu god of destruction – but Travalon noted that I had not named either the barista bear or the snowman prominently featured two posts ago. He suggested Angie for the bear, after our favorite barista at the coffee place downtown, and I was amenable to that. However, when he suggested Ralph for the snowman, I wasn’t sure it fit. Jilly Moose suggested Frank, but that didn’t seem right either. Travalon tossed out Fred, but I still wasn’t feeling it. I asked Rich if he had any opinion about all this, and to my surprise he asked Twins Fan, who I wouldn’t have thought would care about a sock snowman, but he provided the best suggestion to date: Sven. I am tentatively calling the snowman that, but if I get an even better suggestion from a reader, I will entertain the notion. After all, Kathbert hasn’t weighed in yet, and we all know she wins every contest I have on this blog! So I put it to my faithful readers: what should the little sock snowman who is so happy about his giant lollipop be called?

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 12, 2017

Dinner with a Baby

Tuesday night we did not have Irish class, because the other student had a bad cold, so I was able to go to Light Bright’s house for dinner earlier than usual. (We always get together on Tuesdays, so I usually cannot make it there before 7:30.) This time I got there around 5:30, and her little boy was still awake. He is so cute! He is fourteen months old now, which is an adorable age. I will admit to not being a big infant person, but toddlers are my weakness. Now his personality is starting to come out, and guess what? It’s sunny just like Mom’s! He is a very cheerful little boy and not as grabby as some kids his age. He also loves music, so after dinner Light Bright played the guitar while we (she, I, and her mother-in-law who helps take care of the baby) sang children’s songs, much to his delight. I always hated records of kids’ music, on which they always seem to think it is so cute to have a bunch of out-of-tune tots wail along, but when three fairly musically competent adults sing the music, its simplicity is beautiful. Of course, maybe Corban is an exceptionally fun baby to be around, since his mother is the same way. All I can say is that it was so great to spend an evening with a little one!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 11, 2017

Christmas Photos Post

It has been a while since I posted any photos, so here is another pictorial blog post. These are mostly Christmas photos. First is a Christmas cactus blooming in my office that came from some pieces my coworker trimmed off of her plant and threw in the compost bucket. I planted them and lo and behold, this one survived and got big enough to bloom!

This is a box someone discarded by the sidewalk, and I thought it looked like a surprised face.

Here is how a coworker decorated his office for Christmas. I love it!

Here is the little barista bear Travalon gave me for Christmas. Isn't she cute?

The tree at the State Capitol is always beautiful.

Remember the little snowman I made at the Chazen Museum last month? Here is a picture.

And this is a lollipop ornament I liked, so I took a picture of it. Then Travalon bought it for me!

The snowman and the lollipop look like they were made to go together!

These next photos are from two light festivals in town; the first three are from the Olin Park Festival of Lights, and the bison, red panda, and alligator are from the zoo light festival.

These last two photos are of the art projects I did with Jilly Moose last week at Fired Up Pottery. The first one is a lop-eared rabbit just like Charlie playing the mandolin, and the second one is a sun catcher I made of fused glass with a bone and a paw print to symbolize Rodney the Poodle and of course the Packer G and the Wisconsin W for the Badgers because Travalon and I love sports.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 9, 2017

My Birthday Party and the Packers Playoff Game

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday Travalon and I got on the road and drove to a hotel called Wildwood in Pewaukee, singing to and with each other along the way. The hotel had a north woods style and a lovely swimming pool and hot tub with mood lighting and lots of plants. The next morning we woke up early and drove the rest of the way to Jackson, to a Lutheran Church called David’s Star that seemed slightly familiar. We were there for his brother’s wedding, which was half the length of a usual Catholic wedding, though I have been to briefer ceremonies. I once attended a Unitarian wedding that lasted maybe fifteen minutes. The worst was a pagan wedding out in the woods in late October, when I was playing the mandolin and my fingers were freezing, and then they had to invoke every god in every pantheon they could think of: Roman, Greek, Norse, Egyptian, etc. Seriously, if I ruled the world, only monotheists could get married in the woods in late October. My brother-in-law’s wedding did not have this issue, because while it was a frigid day outside, it was perfectly warm in the church still decorated for Christmas. Travalon’s nephews were the ushers, and they were very cute, if that is the right word since they are eleven. Maybe handsome is a better word. Afterwards there was a small reception with coffee cake and mini cheesecakes. Everything was very simple, including the bride’s dress. She is a very down-to-earth person. As we were leaving, Travalon noted that you could see Holy Hill from the parking lot, and then I realized why the church seemed familiar – my band had played for a wedding there many years ago! How random is that?

After the wedding, we had lunch at the Holy Hill café and spent way too much at the gift shop there, as usual, and then we visited Travalon’s mom, who had a bad cold and couldn’t come to the wedding. We told her all about it, and Travalon showed her photos. Then in the evening Rich threw a birthday party for me, and almost a dozen people came. Jilly Moose made me a beautiful rosary, and OK Cap gave me a cyclamen and a CD of Celtic bagpipe music. My OTHER choir director gave me chocolates that I shared with everyone, and Cecil Markovitch gave me really good chocolate that I didn’t share. Kathbert, Mr. N’Awlins, the Single B-Boy, and the Dairyman’s Daughter also came, and after cake and presents we played the game where one person has a famous person’s name put on their forehead, and they ask the rest of us yes and no questions until figuring out who they are supposed to be. It was a lot of fun.

Yesterday after Mass a number of us went to brunch at the Rockhound Brewery, including Antoshka and his fiancée who doesn’t speak much English. She does speak Ukrainian, Russian, and Polish, but I don’t know any of those languages. One guy does speak Russian, so that corner of the table was having its own conversation in Russian. I did finally finish my Christmas cards and get them in the mail, so if you sent me one, you are going to receive one soon. Travalon and I went to Fired Up to pick up my bunny figurine and sun catcher, and they turned out pretty well. Then we watched that amazing Packer game. At first the offense wasn’t doing anything, but at least the defense held the Giants to two field goals. Then Rodgers threw one of his Hail Mary passes, and the whole thing turned around – they just decimated the Giants 38-13! My cousin is sad, because her late husband was a Giants fan so she was following them in his memory, but I was so happy that all of today I have been just glowing. What a fabulous game! The Packers seem to be over their November slump for good!

Famous Hat

Friday, January 6, 2017

Happy Epiphany! (Post Is Unrelated)

The Christmas season is officially over, and I haven’t sent out my Christmas cards yet. Why not? Probably because in the evening I would rather go to a ukulele jam for beginners than sit down and write out cards, plus I have the letter done but haven’t made copies of it yet. Maybe my New Year’s resolution should be to try to be timelier – I was a few minutes late to the ukulele jam last night. Or maybe I should be more organized. I have gotten better over the years, but some people are just so on top of things, and I will probably never be one of them. Is it okay to have the same resolutions year after year, especially if you are making progress on them but are not quite there yet? I don’t officially make New Year’s resolutions, but if I did, they would be depressingly similar to any 2016 resolutions: lose weight, get more exercise, be more organized, stop procrastinating. Still, I have definitely made strides in all those categories since January of 2016! So maybe I should have a New Year’s pep rally for myself – yay team! Keep going! It’s not like I will ever reach perfection, so why not celebrate movement towards it?

Famous Hat 

Wednesday, January 4, 2017

New Years and My Birthday

Sorry for the long silence. I have been on vacation and nowhere near a computer. Friday evening Travalon and I just walked next door to Mariner’s for fish fry, which came with a free glass of champagne that night. New Year’s Eve we had a quiet day as well, until we headed up to see Travalon’s old high school buddy in Waupun. Six of us (three couples) went to a supper club and then back to Travalon’s buddy’s house to play a game I have played before, but never with such dirty results. For example, one of the questions was: “What does Batman do when nobody is looking?” I’m sure you can imagine the answers we came up with (my favorite: “Robin”), and then people kept writing answers from previous rounds so we were really laughing through most of this game. We stayed up until well after 2017 began; I got to bed around 3 am myself.

Sunday morning Travalon and I started the new year out by going to Mass in Waupun, then stopping at a coffee place called End of the Trail. In the afternoon my OTHER choir director had an open house at his beautiful apartment overlooking Turville Bay, and I really enjoyed both all the desserts he made and the chance to catch up with some of my former choir buddies. Can you believe it has been two years since I sang with them? Time sure does fly! Travalon and I went through two light shows that evening: the one at Olin Park, and the one at the zoo. Then we watched the Packers beat the Lions to become NFC North Champions! Yeah!

Monday Travalon had to work, but I had the day off as a legal holiday, so after my usual adoration hour I met Jilly Moose for lunch at Crema Café. We didn’t have to go very far after that to get to the pottery place, where we both made fused glass and also painted figurines – she painted a moose, and I painted a rabbit playing a mandolin. It was like they made it just for me! We took a long walk since it was such a nice day for this time of year, and then in the evening I watched the Cotton Bowl with Travalon, since it had been on while he was working. Neither of us knew the outcome, so we were happily surprised to find out the Badgers won.

Yesterday I had the best birthday. First Travalon gave me presents: the Paul Hornung Scrapbook and a little phrasebook of various African languages. Does he know me or what? We went to coffee at M&M Coffeehouse, where they gave me a free scoop of Zanzibar chocolate ice cream for my birthday, and they were also selling cute Christmas ornaments. I fell in love with a lollipop, and Travalon said for that price he could get me another present. We took it home, and I had the little snowman I made at the art museum hold it – it was so cute! I will post a picture soon. Then we drove to Prairie du Sac and saw two eagles sitting on the island in the river and one flying by the dam. We also saw two eagle nests and some birds that looked like small loons – maybe some kind of duck? We went to Spring Green and found out by accident that it is the Birthday Town: they give you a sticker and a passport with different places in town that will give you free stuff, so I got lunch, a cookie, some candy, and beef sticks. Unfortunately, lots of the places were closed yesterday, but I still had fun. If you have a summer birthday, this would be the place to go! In the evening Travalon took me to the Broadway show Jersey Boys, about Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons, and it was so good! Everyone should see this show! Afterwards we had very chocolate cocktails at the Icon, which is where we went on our first date. This may have been my best birthday ever!

Famous Hat