I hope my readers had a good weekend. Thursday I went to the “big girl” ukulele jam again, but this time it seemed too hard, so at the break I gave up and sat out on the patio with Travalon and Hockey Girl, who had come to hear me. We had a great conversation about beauty in art. Friday Travalon and I joined Rich, A-Fooze, and her family at the Dorf Haus for a fish fry.
Saturday was an amazing day. Tomorrow Cecil Markovitch turns a big round number, so he wanted to have a big birthday pilgrimage. Travalon drove Jilly Moose, OK Cap, and me up to the shrine outside of Green Bay, while Cecil drove another car that included Cali, and the Single B-Boy drove a third car full of people. Of course I bought a couple more rosaries at the shrine, including a Fatima Centennial commemorative one. Then the three cars drove to Harrington Beach State Park, a beautiful park north of Milwaukee on the shores of Lake Michigan with a small lake in it formed in an abandoned limestone quarry. There was a path around the small lake, so Travalon, Jilly Moose, and I hiked around it while almost everyone else hung out on the beach of the big (one might even say great!) lake. Then we drove to Milwaukee and went to Mass at the Basilica of St. Josephat’s, where we were joined by a bunch more people. After Mass they handed out holy cards for the Centennial of the Fatima apparition, since it was that day. Rich had picked up my balalaika, which had arrived while we weren’t there to get it, and he brought that along with the bouzouki Travalon had given me for Christmas a couple of years ago. I had learned one rebetiko song (that’s Greek folk music) from watching a YouTube video over and over, so I played that for Cecil on the bouzouki. Travalon and I also gave him socks that say “Worst gift ever” on them. We all walked across the street to the Serbian restaurant of Old Town, and Tiffy joined us there. Trinidad Cap brought his mother, who was visiting from Trinidad (of course), and I wonder what she thought of me carrying around a couple of crazy string instruments. It was such a fun party! My two favorite quotes were when one guy at my table said I have so many rosaries that I could pray the rosary using the rosaries (I love it! So meta! I may try it!) and when there was a dispute over whether A-Fooze or Trinidad Cap’s mother had come further for Cecil’s party, and the latter won the door prize (a solar activated waving Pope Francis figurine), A-Fooze said, “I’m never coming to your 60th birthday party again!”
Yesterday I skipped Mass, since I had gone last night, and Travalon and I went to visit his mother along with two of his brothers. We took her out for lunch after the other brothers left. Then he and I went for a hike at Cherokee Marsh, and we had a quiet evening at home eating pizza and risotto on the screened-in porch. I tuned up the balalaika according to instructions on the internet and attempted to play a song called “Troika” while Travalon read. There is a balalaika group in town, so there is hope that I may learn to play this instrument yet. I am not aware of a bouzouki group in town, but if anyone knows of anything, please let me know.