Thursday, November 30, 2017

November Photos

Sorry that I haven't blogged in several days. It's our busy time at work, and so the last thing I want to do most evenings is get back on the computer. Travalon and I have been watching old episodes of WKRP in Cincinnati most evenings, but there are only four seasons, and we are almost done, so we'll have to find a new hobby. I do have to say that God is always doing me little favors, like on Tuesday at Taco Night they played a song that seemed familiar, and I wondered what it was but had no idea how I'd ever figure it out... and then yesterday I discovered it was on a CD Travalon bought for me on Small Business Saturday! It's a CD of samba music (yes, I've moved on for the moment from salsa), and the song is "Soul Bossa Nova" by Quincy Jones and his orchestra.

I do have some pictures. This first one is V05 when they played for free at the Overture Center. You can sort of see their disco outfits.

This picture is me, Ethel, and her friend who really did not want her photo taken at the Badger football game.

Travalon and I bought a little stuffed German Shepherd to support the Madison K-9 force, and he named it Dieter. Right now this is the only dog we have.

Here are some not so good photos of animals. In this first one, you can kind of see the owl in the tree we saw while hiking at Holy Wisdom Monastery.

If you look closely toward the top of the tree in this photo, you can see two bald eagles sitting next to each other. They must be mates.

Here is a slightly better photo of the red panda at the zoo. Travalon got way better pictures of it.

And finally, as promised, a photo of my magenta Christmas cactus that is now blooming at work.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 27, 2017

Funeral for a Cool Lady

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I was still under the weather but managed to sing at a funeral Saturday morning while Travalon shopped on State Street for Small Business Saturday. I didn’t know the woman who died, but she sounded like she had a very cool, long life. She taught English to the crown prince and princess of Japan back in the 50’s or 60’s! (I can’t remember the details exactly.) The priest who presided at her funeral Mass had come over from Nigeria and gone into the seminary here, and she and her husband “adopted” him and treated him like one of their kids. Because her parents were from Scotland, there was a bagpipe to end the funeral. Then Travalon, Richard Bonomo, and I went for a hike at Cherokee Marsh, since it was such a lovely day, and then Rich had us over, along with Kathbert, for Thanksgiving leftovers.

Yesterday was a disappointing day. We have never had a bad time at brunch at Plaka, and the food is good and reasonably priced, but yesterday they brought us only one of our orders. I could forgive the initial mistake, but they kept saying, “Are you SURE you didn’t get the second order? The kitchen says they made it!” Finally they figured out it had gone to another table (since we had ordered the same thing), so we waited forever and FINALLY got the second order… and then we had to ask them to give us a discount after having to wait an hour! After that I got some disappointing news from a relative. The third disappointing thing was that Packer game – not a disaster like last week, but so achingly close to winning. However, the weather was no disappointment, and so Travalon and I went to Sauk and hiked on the new trail where the defunct railroad tracks were. We saw two eagles sitting together in a tree, and then one of them flew right over us before landing in the tree again. Then they made all sorts of noise. No disappointment as far as eagle watching yesterday!

Famous Hat

Friday, November 24, 2017

Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope my readers had a good Thanksgiving. Travalon and I went to Oconomowoc to see his mother, who had the same cold we had. While we were there, Travalon called his elderly cousin in California, the one we visited in September, and then she and my mother-in-law chatted on the phone. It was so cute to listen to two people who have been friends for seventy years talk to each other! Then Travalon and I went for a hike near Rock Lake, since it was such a beautiful day.

In the afternoon Richard Bonomo hosted his usual crazy dinner, with eighteen people (I think) in attendance. As usual, Travalon and I provided the turkey, and people brought all sorts of salads and side dishes. For dessert we had Rich’s famous chocolate mousse, but the guy who usually brings way too many types of pies is recovering from a bad accident, so he was only able to make butterscotch pudding. That’s okay, how many desserts did we really need? I spent much of dinner talking to a Slow Food person I hadn’t seen in ages, plus a very energetic and entertaining seven-year-old and, to a lesser extent, his four-year-old brother. Before dinner I had played a board game with the boys and their mother, and it was somewhat like Chutes and Ladders, but the writing was in Chinese, so when we landed on a square with instructions, we just made stuff up, like, “Here you do the Chicken Dance,” and, “Here you do the Bunny Hop.” After most people had left, we discovered an amaryllis bulb encased in gold-colored plastic. How weird is that?? The top was sticking out, so it could have bloomed, but there was no way for it to grow roots. Rich’s neighbor freed the bulb from the odd gold encasement, and I took it home and stuck it in a pot. I will post pictures when and if it blooms.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 20, 2017

Whooping Cranes in Madtown!?!

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine was pretty low-key, since Travalon and I both had colds. I did have coffee with Rich and OK Cap on Saturday morning, and then OK Cap and I prayed the rosary. Then Tiffy came to town, and she, Rich, and I went to a new restaurant called Jardin with some other Slow Food people. It is a "foodie" restaurant but surprisingly affordable, and the red snapper was delicious. Not only that, but the hot toddy they made for me really did make me feel better.

Yesterday as Travalon and I were waiting at Crema Cafe for Tiffy to join us, I saw five very large, beautiful white birds flying over Lake Monona. I wondered what they were but soon forgot about it as we had brunch and then went to Bowlavard to watch what might be the worst Packer game I have ever seen in my life. The opening drive was so promising, until Hundley threw an interception in the end zone. That shouldn't have been the end of the world, but he seemed to lose all confidence after that and threw three more interceptions. The Packers didn't even score a single point! At least the defense was holding the Ravens back in the first half... and then they fell apart too. I guess we can kiss this season goodbye but hey, at least the Badgers are undefeated in football. (Possibly women's hockey too.) After Tiffy left, Travalon wanted to go to the zoo because he said seeing the red panda would cheer him up, and the little creature did not disappoint. It was asleep when we got there, but it must have heard us talking, so it got up, climbed onto a tree branch, and got as close to us as it could. Then we went to see the polar bear, and it came up to the glass too. The bison and giraffes were less interested in us. In the evening Richard Bonomo and I went to a boys' choir concert at the Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest, and all the music was Schuetz, Schein (no Scheidt), Bach, and Mendelssohn. I knew all but one piece and had sung many of them, mostly in the OTHER choir director's choir back in the day. The choir came from Leipzig, where they have existed since 1212. Can you believe the current director is only the 17th one since Bach was director there?? Crazy!

Today I felt worse and stayed home sick, but I was going kind of stir crazy, and the weather was mild, so I went for a rosary walk with Ma Hat's cuddly rosary. I heard a sound like puppies yelping, and it was a bigger flock of those large white birds, maybe a dozen of them. They looked like sandhill cranes, only larger and white with black wing tips. I must apologize to you, my readers, because I was so mesmerized by these lovely birds that I forgot to try to get a video to share with you, not that it would have looked like much. Then another flock of a dozen or so flew overhead! When I got home, I commenced a live chat with a DNR naturalist who confirmed that they were most likely whooping cranes. I had suspected it, and had seen them a couple of times in the marsh around here, but people said they were so rare that I must be mistaken. This lady said oh yes, they are in town. How crazy is that? Whooping cranes in Madtown!

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 16, 2017

Whoops, I Went to Work!

I don’t know if you are anything like me, but we all have anxiety dreams, and I often have one in which I forget to go to work and don’t think of it until 11 in the morning. So far this has never happened to me in real life, but yesterday I did just the opposite – I showed up for work on my day off! What happened was that several weeks ago the woman who covers for me on Fridays asked if I could work this coming Friday, so I decided to take Wednesday off instead. I put it on my calendar but didn’t set an alarm, so I completely forgot about it. Yesterday morning I woke up and really didn’t want to go to work, but I wasn’t even a little bit sick, so I felt funny calling in. Plus I had a lot to do. I reluctantly went to work, and midway through the morning a coworker noted that I was marked out on the all-staff calendar. I said, “That must be a mistake – I meant to do that next week. Does it say I am here on Friday?” and she said yes. At that point I still didn’t remember that I wasn’t supposed to be there until seeing the woman who covers for me on Fridays, and then I said, “I was supposed to take today off and work on Friday, wasn’t I?” She said that since I had already been at work for several hours, I should just take half a day off and then come in for half a day on Friday, so that is what I am doing. Now I am wondering if my reluctance to go to work was some part of my subconscious remembering that I wasn’t actually supposed to go to work that day. Who knows? The moral of the story is: always set an alarm on your calendar events that are out of the ordinary. Whoever heard of someone forgetting and coming into work on their day off?

Famous Hat

Monday, November 13, 2017

Great Football Weekend

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday Travalon and I hung out on campus, as we have been doing, and we got stuck in an elevator at the Historical Society! The door didn’t open, and we couldn’t get it open from the inside, so we pressed the emergency button. A guy spoke to us and said he was going to have to call the fire department, so then Travalon and I were feeling a bit like everywhere we go, the fire department shows up: first the brewery when we ordered pizza, then the All Saints’ Mass, and now this. However, we heard some people outside the elevator, so we pounded on the door and they had no problem opening it from the outside. I got the guy back on the line and said we didn’t need to be rescued anymore. Hopefully that is the last of the fire department showing up wherever we are…

Saturday my old friend Ethel came to town with another friend of hers and four free tickets to the Badger Game! Travalon didn’t mind going with three ladies, since it was such an exciting game – we really didn’t know what would happen, since Iowa had destroyed Ohio State the week before. The Badgers did prevail, although at first it wasn’t a sure thing – right away they threw an interception, and Iowa ran it back for a touchdown! Ouch! It was so good to see Ethel again. She is very busy with five kids, but her husband came home with the tickets and said he couldn’t go, so she should go with friends. I guess someone at work gave them to him. Ethel made her older kids babysit, and one of them kept calling her during the game when something really exciting would happen. She also recorded most of the Fifth Quarter, when the band performs, for him.

Sunday Travalon, Rich, and I were invited to a party thrown by our realtor to thank all her clients past and present. Travalon and I played five holes of miniature golf, and I scored 17, so as you can see golf is not my game either. After lunch at the party, we went home and watched the Packers finally win with Hundley at quarterback. To add to the sweet taste of victory, it was our ancient rivals the Bears on their home turf, so I believe now the Packers are up one game in this oldest rivalry in the NFL. The Bears were good for years in the 80s when we were very bad, so we had a lot of catching up to do, even with Favre and Rodgers as quarterbacks. Then Travalon and I went for a hike at Holy Wisdom Monastery. I hadn’t noticed when we hiked there last year that you can get a really good view of Lake Mendota from the top of the hill. They have a little pond on their land, so we hiked around that as far as we could go. Some of it seems to be private property, and some is torn up. They are apparently doing some sort of prairie restoration project there. The weather was pretty mild for this time of year, but unfortunately the sun never came out. Oh well, we will enjoy these mild days while they last!

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 9, 2017

Late Autumn Photos

Sorry that I haven't blogged in so long. Tuesday I was at a Diversity Forum all day, and then in the evening Travalon and I went out for 75 cent tacos. Yesterday I was very tired. None of that is interesting, so instead let me share some recent photos with you. The first one is a rather blurry shot that Rich took of himself, Tiffy, and me at the corn maze.

Next are a couple of shots of Rich's jack-o-lantern this year, which was a sine wave (?).

This is a beautiful sunset from our dock. The photo doesn't really do it justice, but you can see how the colors were reflected in the water.

Here is the animalito that Travalon and I made! It kind of looks like Rodney.

My train painting wasn't quite as successful. I am much better at depicting animals than trains.

This was a random piece of art (?) we found on the Ice Age Trail.

Here is a shot up the side of the bluff on the Ice Age Trail. You can see the interesting rock formations along the side and top of the hill.

And finally, my semiannual shot of my white Christmas cactus blooming. (It's not really a Christmas cactus - it always blooms around Halloween.) The magenta one is covered with buds, so soon it should be in full bloom.

Famous Hat

Monday, November 6, 2017

Farewell to the Boat for the Winter

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday Travalon and I took advantage of the relatively good weather to go on a long hike on the relatively new Lower Yahara Trail. According to the signs, it was a mile-long boardwalk along the edge of Lake Waubesa, and then another mile to the Lussier Center. However, when we got done, my phone said we had walked seven miles. Where did the extra three miles come from?? We saw tons of coots on the lake. Then we went downtown and checked out the beautiful Historical Society Library. There was a Free Art Friday session at the Union, so Travalon and I made a little “animalito” that kind of looks like Rodney, and we each painted a railroad crossing scene. We ended the evening with dinner at Nick’s on State Street.

Saturday was more of a busy day than a fun one. It wasn’t so nice out, but Travalon and I had to get the boat off the water sometime, so we took it to the School Road landing, where Rich was waiting for us. Then we tried to take it to the place to get winterized, but they were not open, although Travalon had the impression they would be open until four that day. We had to replace the rope on the winch, and there is a flat tire on the trailer, so this all took some work. Then Rich kindly hung up the plant lights from my old setup of Plant World on the ceiling of our plant room. We thanked him by taking him to dinner at Banzo.

Yesterday Travalon and I went for a hike on another section of the Ice Age Trail, this one with a steep bluff at the beginning. I got up it with only minimal panic but figured I could never go back down that way. Luckily we found a road that went down in a much less scary manner. Then we went to Union South and bowled, an activity I have not participated in for decades. Travalon is a decent bowler and averages 120 a game. I generally really stink but wasn’t as bad this time, probably because they had bumpers along the edge so you couldn’t get a gutter ball. This was only the fourth time I’d ever bowled in my life, and Travalon says we will do more of it this winter, so we’ll see if maybe I improve and can even leave the bumpers off…

Famous Hat

Thursday, November 2, 2017

Fire Alarm at the Candlelight Mass

Sorry that I haven't blogged in several days. Tuesday night Travalon and I went to the Club Tavern for 75 cent tacos, and while most people were not in costume, we did see a pumpkin, a vampire rising out of a coffin, a guy with a chicken on his head, another guy with a glowing skull mask, and several costumes which we couldn't identify. We were Halloween humbugs ourselves and did not wear costumes, but Travalon did buy some candy corn at the Walgreens across the street.

Last night for All Saints we went to the 9 pm candlelight Mass put on by the University Catholic Center, but since their Bauhaus Basilica was torn down and is being replaced by something that actually looks like a church, they are holding their Masses at the Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest. My longtime readers may remember that I used to sing in the choir there, and it is such a beautiful church that I always dreamed of attending an actual Mass there. How fitting to go there on the 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation, with a priest who is a convert from Lutheranism presiding. There was a lot of chanting, and I thought it was so beautiful that I cried through part of it, but Travalon didn't like the dark or the Latin. Different strokes for different folks, I guess. Just as people were going up to communion, we heard a distant fire alarm, and I assumed it was in one of the high-rise buildings that has sprung up around Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest in recent years. However, a firetruck pulled up outside the front door, and firemen streamed into the narthex and down into the basement, so the fire alarm must have been in some other part of the church. Travalon and I were starting to feel like everywhere we go, there's a fire alarm. This one must not have been anything serious, because the Millennials at the Mass kept looking back anxiously at the firetruck, but they processed up to the communion rail as if nothing were happening out of the ordinary, and nobody ever said we had to evacuate. Eventually the alarm was turned off and the firetruck drove away. Then Travalon and I went home and watched the Astros win their first ever World Series.

Since I haven't blogged in so long, I will make it up to you, my readers, by sharing some random thoughts. In my humble opinion, 2017 has been a great year for music. My jam right now is "Mi Gente," and not just because all the proceeds go to help hurricane victims in Puerto Rico. I'm also really liking that "Sorry Not Sorry" song by Demi Lovato. Other songs I have liked this year include "Feels" by Calvin Harris, "No Fear" by DeJ Loaf, "Unforgettable" by French Montana, and anything by DJ Khaled.

I am really getting fed up with these astrologically themed internet tests. Tiffy and I took one on Sunday based on what sweets we like, and it said she was a Gemini and I was a Sagittarius. Astute readers of this blog will remember that, in fact, I am a Capricorn and she is a Virgo, so that was not particularly accurate, but who cares? However, more alarmingly I took one a couple of days ago to find out what sign I shouldn't date, and it said Sagittarius. Since Travalon is a Sagittarius, and I dated him (one might say very successfully), this is either a bad omen or proof that these tests are complete hooey. I will let Rich the Typical Aquarius weigh in on this important question.

Famous Hat