Friday, June 30, 2017

Boogie Men on the Monona Terrace Rooftop


Last night I met the Rosary Ladies for dinner, then Jilly Moose and I went to the rooftop of the Monona Terrace to hear a band called the Boogie Men. They were a lot of fun, wearing big black wigs and crazy outfits like bell bottom pants and three-inch silver platform boots. The music they played was all stuff I love, mostly 70’s disco and funk like KC and the Sunshine Band, the Bee Gees, and Earth, Wind, and Fire, but they did play some recent funk hits too. They even did a Michael Jackson medley. Is there any purer joy than singing and dancing along to music you have known and loved most of your life? And to get to do it in the fresh air, overlooking a lake – how does it get any better? I’ll tell you how – this whole thing was FREE! Luxuli showed up with another woman later in the evening, and we all danced together. When the last song was "We Are Family" by Sister Sledge, we really sang the line about, "I got all my sisters with me!" to each other with great gusto. Afterwards one of the musicians came over and talked to us. He has a day job in Milwaukee – he said, “It’s going to be a very long Friday!” The organizers said they were collecting donations, and I wanted to give a couple bucks, but by the time we got down from the roof, the woman collecting donations was about to get into an elevator, so I had to run after her. What an excellent night!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Machine Rebellion


This seems to be the week of machines not working. Monday our coffee maker at work decided that it needed more water to work, even after we filled it all the way to the maximum fill line, and it could not be dissuaded. Fortunately we have another kind of coffee maker; the broken one is a Keurig maker, and we have an old-fashioned one that just brews a pot of coffee, and even an espresso maker. Of course my coworker is frustrated because she just bought a ton of Keurig cups for that machine, so hopefully we can get it working again… She thinks somehow it can’t see the little ball that floats in it to let it know there is enough water in the reservoir, and that maybe this is due to lime, so this weekend she hopes to clean it. Then just today my adding machine at work decided it isn’t going to work anymore; it thinks it has some kind of paper jam, and I can’t figure out how to open it up to see what’s going on. I used my coworker’s adding machine to finish my deposit, and then my boss said there was another one in the supply closet, so I should be okay. Still, what is going on that all the machines are rebelling? Is there about to be a machine uprising?

Famous Hat

Monday, June 26, 2017

Luau Cruise, Spring Green Art Fair, and Fireworks


I hope my readers had a good weekend, despite the cold temperatures and on-again, off-again rain. Thursday evening Travalon and I went on a Betty Lou luau cruise, and the weather started off threatening, but by the end it was a beautiful evening. The food was really good, and the music was wonderful, if more Caribbean than Hawaiian for the most part. Alas, I did not win either the hula contest or the best Hawaiian costume contest. The prize? Another Betty Lou cruise! It was a two-hour cruise, which is not enough time to see the whole Lake Mendota, so we had to cut off a whole section of lake that included the ginormous houses of Bishop’s Bay. Ah well, Travalon and I have seen those while cruising in our own little boat, the Megan Jaye.

Friday evening Travalon and I went to a free concert just off the Capital Square. It was Dark Star Orchestra, the premier Grateful Dead tribute band, and I was expecting to see more people wearing tie-dye. I did, of course, and even wore the tie-dyed hat I got at the Baraboo Art Fair last weekend for good measure. The band was really good, and they played forever. We ended up leaving before they were done because we were so tired from dancing to them all night.

Saturday morning Travalon had to work, so I met Rich and the Rosary Ladies for coffee and the rosary, and then when Travalon got home, he, Jilly Moose, Luxuli, and I went to Spring Green for their art fair. We spent a good deal of time there, so it was later than we expected when we got to the Nature Conservancy land out there with the cacti on it. A sudden storm blew up, so we couldn’t hike and ended up just driving back to town. The Rosary Ladies, Travalon, and Prairie Man had dinner at the Hubbard Avenue Diner, and I embarrassed myself when trying to show off to our Latina server: I tried to say something in Spanish, but she just stared at me, and then I realized it was half in Irish! Oops! It had gotten very cold by then, so Travalon, OK Cap, Cali, and I really had to bundle up to watch the Shake the Lake fireworks from the East Side Club.

Yesterday I skipped 9 am Mass to go to Oconomowoc with Travalon for his nephews’ family birthday party. They are twins and just turned twelve, so Travalon said they are past the toy stage. One loves old coins, so Travalon got him a couple of really cool old ones, and the other loves fishing, so Travalon got him some lures. They both really liked their presents. They had just gone to the Shedd Aquarium, so we had that to talk about. After the party, Travalon and I took his mom out to lunch, then we hiked briefly at Lapham Peak, but I was not dressed right and wanted to go home to change. I hadn’t been hungry when we had gone to lunch, so we ended up going to this incredible burger place called Wegl’s in Jefferson, then we went on an epic quest for paw print stickers and finally found them at the University Bookstore. We had to go to 5 pm Mass, and who should we see there but Jilly Moose! Afterwards the three of us had a bite to eat at Bellitalia, where we saw a rainbow, then she and I went for a rosary walk while Travalon fished at Tenney Park, where we saw a beautiful sunset. On the way home Travalon and I stopped at the co-op, and outside of that we saw a bizarre cloud. I took pictures of all of it and will post them at some point.  

Famous Hat

Friday, June 23, 2017

RIP Rodney 1999-2017


Here is Rodney's obituary, written by Travalon:

Rodney:

Born: July 30, 1999
Died: June 18, 2017

    He was a very sweet, loyal and affectionate, fun and energetic little dog.
He loved his daddy and stepmom unconditionally right up until the end and he always enjoyed getting attention from kind and caring animal lovers of all ages.
He was adored by many - one woman he met in a park was so taken with him she said, "He is so cute, he shouldn't be legal!"
     My favorite memory of him was when he was only two years old - he ran nonstop around the kitchen table in extreme happiness at least ten times when seeing his daddy who just got home from a trip.
    He loved being walked all over the beautiful Oconomowoc (where he lived most of his life) and Madison areas and basically anywhere on road trips.  Any trail looked great to him for a long or short hike. He also loved romps off-leash at the Nashotah, Waunakee and Cherokee Marsh dog parks, and got along well with other dogs because of his calm and friendly nature. He also enjoyed tagging along with his daddy on fishing trips (an always available fishing buddy) and to Ashippun Mudcat baseball games, even to dog friendly taverns such as: AJ's in Oconomowoc and Kenny's in Monterey. He was also a big hit with people passing by on walks along the Lakeshore Path by the UW Memorial Union Terrace, receiving lots of attention. He even enjoyed going for boat and canoe rides with his daddy and stepmom wearing a lifejacket that was labeled "outward hound."
   Rodney was always up for an adventure, and he also enjoyed a relaxing evening at home, just being cuddled in his daddy's or stepmom's lap. It didn't take much to please him, often just a dog treat or stomach rub.
    He shared a home for almost 15 years with a very sweet Calico cat, and they became friends, respectful to each other's space, but often sitting in the same recliner chair or under a window sharing the sunlight.
    Even in his old age with declining health he remained very affectionate and loyal, and after a bad spell or day he always seemed to bounce back and be ok. Despite losing his eyesight and suffering from arthritis pain, he still enjoyed short walks, just getting outside sniffing the ground, even in the cold of winter wearing his lamb-skinned doggie coat.
    Because of the well-deserved love and care he got, along with all the exercise and his resilience, he exceeded the average lifespan for his breed by almost three years. People he met couldn't believe his old age.
    He spent his last conscious moments in a beautiful natural area near Spring Green, on one last walk being carried in a backpack. He is now running pain free up in doggy heaven. He is greatly missed and I am filled with sadness from his loss, but remembering the happy times with him gives his daddy a sense and peace and calmness - thankful to have him in my life for so long, giving me so much joy and pleasure.
    
He will be in my and Famous Hat's heart and memory forever.
    
God bless Rodney, and all the good dogs out there who give or have given us us so much joy !
 
Travalon

Here is Travalon's favorite picture of Rodney:


This is my favorite picture of Rodney:


Here are Rodney and me in happier times:


And this is the last picture taken of Rodney while he was still alive. He looks so peaceful, and I look so sad.


Famous Hat

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Outdoor Concert in Oconomowoc


Last night Travalon picked me up from work, and we battled the terrible traffic to get out of town. A water main had broken under Johnson Street, which is a major thoroughfare, so everyone was taking alternate routes that coincided with the way we were going. Finally we got on the highway and drove to Oconomowoc to go to an outdoor concert with his mother. I have mentioned these concerts before on this blog. They are in the band shell by the beach, which is a beautiful location. It seemed like a really wonderful way to spend the longest evening of the year, sitting outside and watching the sun set while listening to live music. The program was “Postcards from ….” They would read actual postcards that I believe were written by band members (it was a large Legionnaires brass band with a color guard) and then play a piece of music associated with that place. For example, they played “Hungarian Dance #5” by Brahms after reading a postcard from someone visiting Hungary. Once we brought my mother-in-law home, she found out I had my mandolin along with me because of my gig, and she asked if I could play “Hungarian Dance #5,” so I did a passable job at it. Then Travalon asked me to play the rebetiko song I had learned on the “bouzouki,” and that was a little confusing because of the difference in fingering, but I also figured out how to play it on the mandolin. So far my instrument adventure is going fairly well (I am trying to learn a Landini piece, “Ecco la Primavera,” on the rebec), except for the otamatone. If I ever learn to play that thing, it will be a minor miracle.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Boz Scaggs and Make Music Madison


Last night Travalon and I went to see Boz Scaggs at the Overture Center. It was a really good show, except that he didn’t do my favorite song, “Miss Sun.” I had been so lucky with musicians doing my favorite songs, even if they weren’t their biggest hits, but in this case it was a big hit so I was sure he would do it. He did do a really cool tango piece, and some stuff by obscure Cajun songwriters. I just don’t get why rock stars do that, instead of playing the songs you want to hear. As a musician, I get that they might get bored with playing the same songs over and over, but he did all his other hits, and we paid a lot to hear his music, not obscure Cajun songwriters’ music.

Today at lunch I had a free gig for Make Music Madison, the annual free music solstice celebration. All over town, people are playing free gigs outside all day long. We played at Hotel Red, which was a pleasant location in that it is outdoor yet shaded, but boy is it noisy on the corner of Monroe and Regent Streets! Plus they have just started doing road construction. At first our audience consisted of Travalon, but soon more people drifted in, and by the end we had a respectable number of people listening to us. They even tipped well – we each got $10 in tips! Afterwards a young guy approached me and said what a beautiful Neapolitan style mandolin I had, and that you don’t see many like it. I figured if he knew that much about it, he must play, so I let him play mine, and indeed he does know how to play. He said he has a bouzouki, but when I told him about mine, he said they are larger than mandolins, not smaller. So I am not sure what my little instrument is, after all. Tuning it like a bouzouki seems to make sense. I got in touch with a woman who said she would teach me to play the “bouzouki,” so if we can ever coordinate schedules, maybe she can tell me what my little instrument actually is. 

Famous Hat

Monday, June 19, 2017

End of the Rodney Era


Warning: this blog post has a sad ending.

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine was kind of up and down. Friday evening Tiffy and I had dinner at Brasserie V, then we drove to Spring Green and met the Dairyman's Daughter at the outdoor theater to see "A Flea in Her Ear," a romantic comedy. We saw a few scenes before there was a rain delay, then we saw the first third before they called it off completely because of a storm. Tiffy noted that the last time the three of us had attended a play there, it had also been called off because of storms, and she suggested we sell our services ("Guaranteed rain!") to drought-stricken farmers. So now we will have to figure out a time we can go back to see the entire play.

Saturday I had an unpaid gig in Baraboo, so Travalon and I took the Merrimac Ferry on the way there. My band played at an art fair in front of the courthouse, amid the billion-year-old Baraboo Hills, and then Travalon and I drove to Reedsburg to have cream ale (and lunch) at the Corner Pub. It is the most delicious beer ever. They brew many other beers, and someday I will branch out and try some others. Rodney was not doing so well when we got home, but Travalon had the idea to put him in a backpack so we could take a walk on Governor's Island, and after that he perked up and even ate dinner. Travalon and I met Rich for dinner at Villa Dolce, and for dessert I had the most amazing almond fig gelato.

Yesterday after Mass, Travalon and I went with Rich and another choir member to the Lakeside Cafe, sitting out on their patio overlooking Monona Bay. When we got home, Rodney was not conscious, but Travalon thought maybe another walk would help him. We drove all the way to Spring Green and hiked on the Nature Conservancy land full of blooming cacti; dogs aren't technically allowed there, but we hoped nobody would bother us about a tiny, dying dog in a backpack. Rodney kept having seizures, and he didn't regain consciousness, so we drove back to Middleton and took him to the emergency veterinary clinic, where they put an IV in him. While he didn't come out of his coma, he seemed very peaceful, and we asked if he could possibly recover, but they said not at his age, so we had him put down. We buried him in Rich's yard and then went for a long walk on the path beside Lake Monona. Here is my favorite picture of Rodney that I ever took, canoeing several summers ago.


Travalon will write a complete obituary soon. He is still grieving at the moment.

Famous Hat

Friday, June 16, 2017

Paul Simon in Chicago


Sorry for my silence the last couple of days, but I wasn’t anywhere near a computer to blog. Wednesday I took the day off of work, and Travalon and I drove to Chicago. Lots of bad traffic and road construction, but we finally got there, and Travalon suggested the Shedd Aquarium but the weather was beautiful so I suggested a lakeshore walk. We stopped for lunch at a little food stand run by a couple of Eastern European women, but suddenly a terrible storm blew up. The women were so nice, they let us take shelter in their stand until the lightning stopped striking around us, then Travalon and I ran through the rain to the Shedd Aquarium. We enjoyed that immensely, and when we left, it was drizzling but not storming out, so we took the water taxi over to Navy Pier, explored the Crystal Gardens, and had dinner at a Mexican restaurant in the gardens. We had a private water taxi ride back, then we went to the outdoor concert venue on Northerly Island to hear Paul Simon. I was wondering if he would do my favorite song, “Boy in the Bubble,” and he opened with it! In fact, he did a lot of stuff from Graceland. Thirty years later, it is still one of the greatest albums of all time. Travalon was happy because he did four encores and included lots of older stuff in them. His band was amazing too. Then we drove home and got there around three in the morning. Yawn!

Yesterday we had taken the day off of work to sleep in, which we did, and then we went to visit Travalon’s mom. (He goes to see her every week.) The day before, the otamatone Travalon had bought for me had arrived, but the instructions were all in Japanese. We could ascertain that I needed three batteries and a flathead screwdriver, and Travalon’s mom needed batteries too, so we stopped by a hardware store and got all that stuff. When we got back home, the inflatable Sinclair dinosaur I had bought for Travalon had arrived. However, I thought my otamatone wasn’t working because the mouth didn’t open, and Travalon’s toy seemed to be defective as well, because there was no plug for the spout to inflate it. We looked at our instructions, mine in Japanese with some pictures, and his very vintage-looking, and we ascertained that I had to open the mouth of the otamatone myself, and that Travalon had to push the spout in to plug it. So there were no problems with our toys! In the evening we went to the rooftop of the Monona Terrace and sat beneath the blooming Japanese lilac trees, listening to a very good Chicago tribute band. The weather was absolutely perfect, and there was a beautiful sunset. I will try to post pictures and videos of our adventures soon. Don’t expect a video of me playing the otamatone anytime soon – I need a lot of practice on that thing! Here is a video of someone else playing one:


Famous Hat

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Photos from Our Memorial Day Weekend Trip


Here are some photos from our Memorial Day Weekend trip. First is a shot of Mill Bluff.


Next is the exterior and the interior of the church in Eau Claire where we went to Mass, Sacred Heart.



This is the inside of the very colorful Mexican restaurant in Chippewa Falls where we had dinner.


Here is a shot of the Leinenkugel brewery.


This is a very random thing we saw on our walk along the river: what appears to be an old building (part of the brewery?) with a modern house built inside of it.


This grotto and Catholic church are in Chippewa Falls as well.



Here are Travalon and Rodney in front of "Stout-Henge" in front of the Union on the UW-Stout campus.


Here are some shots from Crystal Cave. The first one shows how pretty it is.


This one is of the "Ghost of Crystal Cave." It looks like a face!


Asking about this paddle cost me a dollar in the jukebox!


Here we are in front of the beautiful waterfall in Willow River State Park.


Here are two shots from Douglas Point, Minnesota.



This little Catholic church in Prescott is called (I think) St. Joseph's.


Here I am in front of Lake Pepin in Minnesota.


Travalon is a big fan of the Sinclair dinosaur, so he wanted me to take this shot of him with the cardboard cutout of it in a Sinclair station in Winona, Minnesota. He specifically said I should post this on my blog.

 

And this is the cool rock formation on top of a bluff across from the Sinclair station.


As a bonus, here is Donovan singing my favorite song of his, "There Is a Mountain."

video
Famous Hat

Monday, June 12, 2017

Playing the Ukulele at the Mallards Game


I hope my readers had a good weekend. I had so much fun on Friday night! I went to the Mallards game with Travalon, Tiffy, and Cali, and we sat with a bunch of other ukulele players in bright Hawaiian shirts and leis. We players practiced at the bottom of the fourth, then we stood by the gate to get onto the field until the end of the top of the seventh. It wasn’t the best spot to see the game, but it was so much fun playing during the seventh-inning stretch! We sang three “verses” of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” (in C, thank goodness!), meaning we sang a verse, played a verse on the kazoo, and sang it again. People loved it! I saw the video the next day, and we were pretty good. Best of all, the Mallards won 11-8!

Saturday Travalon and I met Rich, Tiffy, and Cali for coffee, then Rich had to take off, Travalon went to the Union Terrace, and we ladies went to the Farmers’ Market. Cali had to leave, but OK Cap joined Tiffy and me for lunch at Himal Chuli. Tiffy came back to my place and I showed her my various instruments. She tried to play them and declared that the ukulele was the easiest to play. The two of us drove to Spring Green to the big potluck before the opening night of the outdoor theater. We joined Rich, Kathbert, the Dairyman’s Daughter and her sister, the Single B-Boy, and another woman who doesn’t have a name on this blog. We saw “A Midsummers Night Dream,” and this time it wasn’t interrupted by rain. We really enjoyed it, but I did get home very late.

Yesterday after Mass, Travalon and I went to brunch with Tiffy and her niece, who plays the ukulele and also this amazing thing called the otamatone that looks like a cartoon musical note. The video she showed us was just about the funniest thing I have ever seen. Then Travalon and I went to his high school friend’s daughter’s high school graduation. She is #14 in the state at track and field! In the evening Travalon and I went to see Donovan perform at the Overture Center. We play a number of his songs in the ukulele group, and something about his music really resonates with me. My favorite song of his is “There Is a Mountain.” First his grandson (who is also the grandson of Rolling Stone Brian Jones) came out and played a few songs, and he was a great guitar player. Then Donovan played, just him and the guitar and sometimes a harmonica, and the best part was the crazy stories he would tell between songs. It is the 50th anniversary of the Summer of Love, so he mostly told stories from that era, about his adventures with his crazy friend Gypsy Dave, and other rock stars from the era that they would encounter. All I can say is that if you get a chance to see Donovan live, do NOT miss it.

Sorry, the blog is not allowing me to link a video of the otamatone.

Famous Hat

Friday, June 9, 2017

Another Great Ukulele Jam


Last night I had such a good time. Travalon met me at the Lakeside Café, and we had dinner outside on the patio, overlooking Monona Bay. Meanwhile about seventy other ukulele players were gathering, and we all had to have our photos taken in various configurations. I had a bourbon barrel-aged beer and failed to notice that it was 11% alcohol until it hit me pretty hard. Boy, was I happy! We played a bunch of songs, and a guy sat next to me who was just a spouse of a ukulele player, not an actual player, and he sang harmony on everything. Best of all, I got some free tickets to the Mallards game tonight because the ukuleles are playing “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” during the seventh inning stretch. I sure hope they are planning to play it in the key of C, because I figured out how to play it in that key. Someone said it might be in G, which should also be very doable. I will let you know how it all went.

Famous Hat

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Liliana's with Jilly Moose


Sorry for my silence yesterday. I was going to blog about how Jilly Moose, Travalon, and I went to Liliana’s for their special soul food menu, but once again they were out of it. Or at least the main course, fried chicken – the people sitting next to us got the last two! We did get the appetizer of macaroni and cheese with bacon, and the dessert of banana pudding, and when I asked if there were any of the side of greens left, the waitress brought me some. We had to order entrees off the regular menu, and we each got something different: Travalon got catfish, Jilly Moose got salmon, and I got something called Diablo Chicken, which was quite spicy. I could only eat half of it, so I had the rest for lunch yesterday.

Yesterday afternoon I suddenly became very sleepy, and so during band practice I made all sorts of weird mistakes because I couldn’t remember where to put my fingers. But was this a function of being sleepy or of being confused after playing so many instruments? I only brought my acoustic mandolin to band practice this time, but in the evening as we sat on our porch, I practiced Bubba Sue the mountain dulcimer, the bouzouki, the balalaika, the good violin, and the rebec. That is almost all my instruments, except for the electric mandolin, the cheap violin, the African thumb piano, and the random small instruments like recorders and ocarinas that I have not seen since moving into our present place anyway. And I plan to give the cheap violin to Kathbert as soon as I can get it together (I poached its E string for the good violin, for example), so that will be one less instrument to neglect. Oh, and of course the ukulele, but I will play that tonight and possibly tomorrow night. Stay tuned... (pun intended)

Famous Hat

Tuesday, June 6, 2017

Tennis Time


So I didn’t go to this game, but the Mallards recently beat the Green Bay Bullfrogs 20-1, so they don’t always lose epically – sometimes they win epically! I guess they just specialize in lopsided games this season.

Last night Travalon and I played tennis for twenty minutes, which burns over 200 calories according to my diet app. We decided we should try to play it once a week. After all, there is a tennis court right in our yard, and nobody else ever seems to use it. I was using a racquet that Ma Hat had brought me, and it is really a good one. I don’t think she ever used it, because the price tag is still on it. It must be one of the matching ones she and I got decades ago, because we were going to play all the time. I did use mine a lot back in the day, but now I’m not sure where it is. It seems to have vanished during one of my many moves. It will probably turn up again, because I know I didn’t give it away. We also have two less high quality racquets, so if any of my readers wants to play some time, I can provide a racquet of questionable quality.

Famous Hat

Monday, June 5, 2017

Relaxing Summer Weekend


I hope my readers enjoyed the warm weather this weekend. Travalon and I had a very relaxed weekend. Saturday we slept late, had brunch at the Manna Café, and then went to the music store for a strap for my ukulele and cables to plug in my electric mandolin and Travalon’s bass. Back home we tried out the cables, and I figured out the bassline to Pink Floyd’s “Money,” but when Travalon found the tablature online, I had mixed up two notes. He had always wanted to learn that bassline, and now he can! Then we went for a hike in the south part of Cherokee Marsh, but we kept running into geese families, so we had to go other ways or wait until they passed. Trust me, you do not want to get too close to a goose with babies! I once saw a somewhat inebriated girl get attacked for doing just that. In the evening we went to the Overture Center to see Diana Krall, who is very funny besides being very talented. As my regular readers may remember, I once had a gig playing with a bassist who had played with her. That is one of my brushes with greatness, the other being when Pope John Paul II waved at me.

Sunday was another relaxed day. Rich helped us get our boat trailer attached to Travalon’s car, then we all headed to Olbrich Park and put the boat in the water. We had hoped Rich would come on the boat ride with us, but he is a busy man, so he said he would just return to help us get it out of the water. We went out on Lake Monona for about an hour and then went back into Starkweather Creek, where you can get an amazing view of the Thai Pavilion in Olbrich Gardens from the water. As we were trying to get the boat out of the water before Rich got there, we saw a guy who forgot to put his parking brake on or something, and he got out of his SUV to mess with the boat, and the SUV (which was running but had nobody in it) backed into the water and hit the boat. Whoa! Travalon and I may not be very elegant at getting our boat into and out of the water, but we haven’t made that mistake… yet. Rich, Travalon, and I had a drink at the East Side Club, then Travalon and I went to the café on the roof of the Monona Terrace, but once again it was closed with no indication on the website that it would be. We ended up having dinner at the Olive Bar in the Hilton, and we saw a retiree we know who got a job there as a valet. I guess some people can’t stop working, and in his case it isn’t because of money. He said it was a really fun job, he made a lot in tips, and he got to drive fancy cars. Doesn’t sound like a bad gig at all. 

Famous Hat

Friday, June 2, 2017

Epic Mallards Loss


Last night Travalon and I went with a bunch of my coworkers to a Mallards game. We had great tickets, so we got to sit right behind home plate, eat as many burgers and brats as we wanted, and drink three beers. Believe me, I needed those beers because while the weather was perfect, the Mallards were about as far from perfect as a ball team can get. I have seen them win and I have seen them lose, but I have never seen them totally destroyed like that before. Their defensive playing stank, they couldn’t hit anything (seriously, about the only guys who got on base were the ones walked by the other team’s pitcher), and their pitching wasn’t anything too wonderful either. In the end they lost 12-0. Apparently they lost the night before to a new team called the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders (Travalon loves that name!), but it was a reasonable score, like 5-2. We have been spoiled because the Mallards are always good enough to get into the playoffs, so maybe we were due for a bad season. But a terrible season? Hopefully they don’t have another game like the one last night! Otherwise, we had a lot of fun.

Famous Hat

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Gypsy Swing at Cafe Coda


Last night I brought my ukulele to band practice and played it on a couple of songs. My bandmates said they couldn’t really hear me, so then I played one song with a pick, which for some reason nobody does when playing the ukulele. Maybe picks are too hard on the nylon strings. Then I met Travalon at Café Coda, which is at the Fountain, to hear some gypsy swing. We had heard a band with maybe eight members playing different instruments at the International Festival, and Travalon had really liked them, but this was two guys playing guitars and singing in French, and it wasn’t his thing. It was my thing, but even married couples can have different things. What I thought was interesting is that the singer was a very good musician with a lot of charisma, and the other guy was an AMAZING musician, but he had no stage presence. He could not have made a go of it on his own, while the singer probably could, but together they were fabulous. Sometimes it helps to find someone who can highlight your strengths and compensate for your deficits, like when I was office mates with Light Bright and would help her spell things while she helped me figure out the right thing to do in weird situations. We complemented each other just like the musicians last night. That is why God did not make us all the same, so we could all learn to help each other.

Famous Hat