Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Ms. Saint

Some things in life just seem so unfair. For example, if I get pulled over by a cop, because I am pale my big fear is getting an expensive ticket. However, if I looked more like my African ancestors, I would legitimately be afraid of being killed. The other day someone posted a compelling article on social media about how sex is so different for men and women; “bad” sex for men means boring, but for women it often means incredibly painful. The author gave an example of an online poll about why women fake orgasm, and she pointed out that the most common reason, “Because it hurt and I just wanted him to stop,” wasn’t even one of the choices. She also pointed out that there were ten times more medical studies about male erectile dysfunction than female pain during sex. Seriously? You would think pain would be a more persuasive problem than a little performance anxiety.

What really bothers me is that the Catholic Church, which I love, engages in this double standard. If you look at the listing of male saints, they are “bishops” and “martyrs” and “laymen” – nothing implied about their sexual status. However, women saints are either “virgins” or “married women.” As Catzookz once said, “Isn’t there a Ms. Category?” A man once said to another woman and me that he disliked how Mary Magdalene is associated with a prostitute, how that besmirched her name, and we said, “Don’t take her from us! She’s the only example of a fallen woman that we have!” He said, “There are lots of examples of saints who sinned and reformed, like St. Augustine,” and we had to point out the obvious – he’s a MAN. Where are the WOMEN saints who fell and reformed? Some orders don’t even let non-virgins join, but nobody asks a man about his sexual status before he is ordained. Seriously, if God has forgiven your sins, who are these people to continue to hold them against you? And no other sins are; nobody says, “You may be thin now, but you once weighed 400 pounds so you obviously committed the sin of gluttony.” It’s just this one sin that is unforgivable, and only for women. The worst part? A man is stronger than a woman and can take her virginity by force, but only she would be marked by the Church; the man could repent and he would be fine. How fair is that?? Seriously, all the female martyrs seemed to have died not for doctrinal issues but just to protect this one thing that is so important to the Church. Why? Nobody seems to be able to answer this for me.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 29, 2018

Hiking across Devil's Lake

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Travalon and I started ours by cleaning for an hour again on Friday morning – that has been working really well for us! The place is definitely starting to look good! In the process of cleaning I found an insurance refund check for a small amount, but it was enough to buy us brunch that morning! It was a beautiful morning, but once we finished brunch at the Fair Oaks Diner, it began to rain. We went out to Sauk and observed eagles again, then we went to the Union for a short walk, since the weather had cleared up again. You could get your picture taken with Bucky Badger, so we did, and then we went into the Alumni building and discovered my picture in yearbooks three years in a row! I won’t say when they were from, but let’s just say another millennium. Travalon was surprised at how thin and blonde I used to be. We walked up Langdon Street and down State Street, then we went home and used a gift certificate to have dinner at Mariner’s, enjoying their special Restaurant Week menu. In the evening I met Jilly Moose and Hockey Girl at the Chocolaterian, then we went to Tex Tubb’s Taco Palace, but they were unexpectedly closing so they gave us coupons for free margaritas at some future date. The others were hungry, so we went to Dobhan and I had chai, and then a free refill, and then I had some trouble getting to sleep.

Saturday Travalon and I went on a hike on the boardwalk in McFarland again, since it was such a gorgeous day, and a poodle that looked just like Rodney came running up to say hi to us. That made Travalon’s day! We went to the downtown Parched Eagle to try their sour beer, and we got hooked on this silly game called Klask that is like table hockey…? I am not sure how to explain it, but it was so much fun. We had a quiet evening at home watching the movie Network, which is very weird but totally engrossing.

Yesterday Travalon and I went to a jazz brunch at the bar where we get tacos and play trivia, and we had so much left on our gift card from winning at trivia that brunch was practically free. The food and the mimosas were delicious, and the music was wonderful too. We went to St. James to meet Cecil Markovitch, the Single B-Boy, Rich, and his Brazilian housemate for a spaghetti dinner; Travalon and I just had dessert since we had already eaten. Then Cecil talked all of us but Rich into going to Devil’s Lake for a hike across the frozen lake. First we stopped in Sauk and saw eagles – lots of eagles! Cecil and the B-Boy had stronger binoculars than Travalon’s, so we got a really good look at them. The surface of the lake was very slippery with the thin layer of new snow over it, and I fell down once, so Travalon suggested he and I go back after crossing about a third of the lake. The others did the whole length of the lake, then we all but the B-Boy went to Salvatore’s Pizza Pies in Sun Prairie for dinner. Travalon said he was glad he tried hiking on the frozen lake once, but he hates winter and will not be doing it again. I can understand that – it was quite cold yesterday!

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Tuesday, January 23, 2018

Beautiful Weekend for the Winter

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Sorry that I didn’t write about this yesterday, but I was at a birthday party for my old buddy Mamastep. Friday Travalon and I cleaned for almost an hour before we went to a new (to us) place for brunch, Lazy Janes – and it was wonderful! It was beautiful out, so we took a walk on the long boardwalk in McFarland, and then we went out to Sauk to see eagles. Once again we were successful in this endeavor. We had a bowl of lobster bisque at the Blue Spoon Diner overlooking the river, but we didn’t see any eagles from there. In the evening Tiffy, Hockey Girl, and I went to a chardonnay wine tasting, and we were not nearly as good at picking out the flavors the experts said were there as we had been with the champagnes. To me, they mostly tasted like unripe pineapple. I guess I am not a chardonnay person…

Saturday Travalon and I met Tiffy and Rich for coffee, then Tiffy, Travalon, and I met Tiffy’s sister and niece for brunch at Bonfyre Grill, and then the three of us went for the same walk on the McFarland boardwalk, since it was almost 50 degrees out. So beautiful! In the evening Tiffy, Rich, and I had dinner at Mint Mark, a new restaurant on Winnebago, then we walked to the Chocolaterian for some dessert. We thought about going to the symphony, since Handy Woman said it was wonderful, but we ended up just talking. Travalon, meanwhile, was at a high school basketball tournament. He had a great time.

Sunday after Mass Travalon and I talked a bunch of the guys into going to brunch at the Peruvian restaurant on State Street, then he and I went – can you believe it? – back to Sauk to see eagles. And we did see eagles! So far we have been successful every time in 2018. We watched part of the Jacksonville/New England game at the new Vintage branch out in Sauk, then we went to the jazz jam at the Rigby. As we were walking back to the car, we passed a strange place that had no sign outside, just a menu posted, so we went in and it was enchanting. It’s called Natt Spil, and people tell me they are secretive on purpose. They aren’t even listed in the phone book. They have a pizza oven there, so we had a pizza, and they make a cocktail that contains green chartreuse, so of course I had to order that. We will definitely be back! That was a perfect way to top off the weekend.

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Monday, January 22, 2018

Things I Find More Interesting than an Eagles/Patriots Super Bowl:

  • Toenail fungus
  • Hard water stains
  • Bread mold
  • Maurice Chevalier
  • “Professionally” made cakes that say “Super Bowel”
  • Forgetting a zucchini in my gig bag until it rots and leaves a stain that I can’t get out no matter how much Oxi-Clean I use
  • Computer screen wipes
  • Houseplant fertilizer
  • Coupons for Chinese restaurants I never eat at
  • Free calendars from environmental charities I may or may not have donated to in the past
  • The sentence “Every serious ukulele player must own a kazoo.”
  • The question “Should I buy a balalaika or go to the dentist?”
  • Broken lobster claw clasps on cheap shell jewelry from Cozumel
  • Crypto currencies I will never invest in
  • The word “synergy”
  • Equal temperament tuning
  • Ice on the sidewalk
  • Dirty gutters
  • Out of date globes
  • Church bulletins from five years ago

In conclusion, to quote Grumpy Cat, “I hope both teams lose!”

Famous Hat

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Photos of Cacti and Other Things

I love how random my iPhone is when it plays music for me. This evening I was running while listening to it, and it played "Chan Chan" by the Buena Vista Social Club, followed by "Rock You Like a Hurricane" by the Scorpions, followed by "Didi" by Khaled. I thought yeah, that about sums up my taste in music. And if you think about it, it's very international: Cuba followed by Germany followed by Algeria.

Here are some photos from my recent adventures. First is the fused glass piece I created on my birthday; I posted a "before" picture already, and admittedly this "after" picture is not much different, but I am pleased with the results. The girl working at Fired Up said it was very cute.

The Tropical Dome was beautiful, and the Show Dome was closed for preparations for an upcoming display, but to me the Desert Dome has the most photogenic denizens. These are some of my favorite cacti.

When we went on our skyway adventure, we ended up in Grand Avenue Mall, and I thought this staircase configuration was so beautiful.

Finally, the small orange poinsettia OK Cap gave me for my birthday, next to the standard size, classic red one with variegated leaves that Travalon and I got for free when we bought one for his mother.

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Monday, January 15, 2018

Bucks Game and Lots of Eagle Watching

Sorry to have once again gone so long between blog posts. Tuesday I had some more birthday celebrations when Lute Player took me out for lunch and then Light Bright had me over for dinner. Her two-year-old son was crying because it has been winter for so long and he wants it to be summer again, and I think we can all relate to that! Then Thursday I went to a ukulele jam at the Lakeside Cafe that was more lightly attended than usual because of the lousy weather. However, there were lots of fun instruments at it, including a banjolele, a guitarlele, and a piccolo ukulele that was half the size of my instrument! I should have taken pictures...

Friday Travalon and I brought a cake to his mother for her 92nd birthday, then we played a round of Scrabble with her. We went to the Domes to get some steps, since it was bitterly cold outside, and the plants were very cool but I only got about a mile's worth of steps. I mentioned that in Minneapolis you can walk for miles downtown through the network of skyways, and we found that there are enough skyways in Milwaukee to get a few miles' worth of steps in. We ended up in the Grand Avenue Mall at one point, which is sadly mostly empty. We had an amazing dinner at Rock Bottom Brewery and then went to the Bucks game. They were playing the Golden State Warriors, so we figured they would lose, but at least we would get to see Steph Curry, maybe the greatest player of this generation, in person. He was injured, and then the Warriors beat the Bucks by quite a bit anyway, so that was a bummer. Still, it is always great to see the Greek Freak play.

Saturday Travalon got called into work unexpectedly, so I met Rich for coffee, and then we did half a workout. Once Travalon returned, we went to Sauk and saw two eagles sitting in a tree together, but there were so many people parked at the dam that we only got a glimpse of all the eagles feeding there. When we got back to town, we went to the Chocolaterian for treats and then went to the new place called Chicken Run for dinner. To our surprise, they gave us free deep-fried Oreos, which we didn't really need after our trip to the Chocolaterian, but we ate them. They were actually pretty tasty, like beignets with a melty Oreo in the center. We met Hockey Girl at the Lakeside to see an old school country band, and we played a round of Scrabble. I had nothing but vowels most of the game, so unsurprisingly I came in last. I also had a huge salad there to counteract all our unhealthy food earlier in the evening.

Sunday Cecil Markovitch, Travalon, and I walked down State Street in the bitter cold to go to brunch at Sun Porch, then Travalon and I went back to Sauk to see eagles. We saw some in the trees across the river from the VFW park, then we went to the dam and saw lots of them flying around and standing on the ice in the river. We went back to the Chocolaterian on the way back into town, and then in the evening we went to the North Street Cabaret to see a jazz festival. It was standing room only, and they had no food there, so we went across the street to the Tip Top Tavern for some dinner and then came back to hear the last act, a Latin jazz band called Mambo Blue. They were really good. By then it had cleared out enough for us to get a table up front, but we did dance for their last number.

Today I had the day off of work for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, so Rich and I met for coffee, then we went to my adoration hour, and then we planned to go to the MLK Day festivities at the Capital. However, Rich got a frantic text from someone stranded by the sparse bus schedule today, so we went to pick her up, and by the time we got to the Capital there wasn't too much of the program left. We did hear a kid recite the "I Have a Dream" speech and some guys sing a rousing tune. Then we worked out and I went to Mass before coming home to spend a quiet evening with Travalon. And since I generally blog on Mondays, I am doing so now before the day is over.

Famous Hat

Monday, January 8, 2018

My Birthday Weekend

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I spent most of mine celebrating my birthday. Friday Travalon and I both had to work, since we had taken Wednesday off for my birthday adventures. In the evening we went to Mr. Brews to meet Twins Fan and his new lady friend. They seem very happy together, and I like her a lot. Maybe she will even get a name on this blog someday…

Saturday Travalon and I went to the Daisy CafĂ© for brunch, then we drove out to Sauk to see eagles, and we saw a couple of them flying. We drove even further, to Reedsburg for our favorite cream ale at the Corner Pub. In the evening Hockey Girl took me to dinner at Liliana’s, and she gave me a beautiful rosary bracelet. We went to the Chocolaterian to hear a singer/songwriter from Haiti, but he was louder than he was talented. Oh well, it was for a good cause – he was raising money for people back home. Some of them are still homeless after the earthquake and the hurricane that ravaged the island several years ago.

Yesterday Travalon and I went to see eagles again. Several people had expressed an interest in going with us, but in the end nobody else joined us. We saw two sitting in a tree. In the evening Rich threw a party for my birthday, and all the Rosary Ladies came, along with Prairie Man, Hockey Girl, Cecil Markovitch, Lute Player and her husband, Cali, and Rich’s two housemates. Rich made delicious chicken parmesan and of course a black magic birthday cake, Jilly Moose brought prosecco, and Cecil brought eggnog. We played a few rounds of “Who Am I?” and somehow it got really late. Oh well, it was so much fun! I just had some strong coffee this morning and I was fine.

Someone said something really funny that was going to be the title of this blog post, but now I have forgotten it. If anyone can remember, shoot me an email.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, January 3, 2018

Taco Tuesday: The Musical

Today I am a year older, and the celebration started last night, when Travalon and I went to our usual place for tacos. We decided to finally get there early enough to join the trivia game that happens every Tuesday, and we bandied about names for our team on the way there. The usual teams have names like the Red Team, the Bears Still Suck, We Drink and We Know Things, etc. so I thought we had to have a good one. I suggested Panda Trolley, but Travalon came up with Taco Tuesday: The Musical, and that just sounded right. It must have been good luck too, because while we were in last place after the first round and starting to wonder if we were out of our depth, in the successive seven rounds we kept doing better and better until we won it all - $25 in cash money, as the MC says.

Today we both took the day off of work and slept in, then Travalon gave me my presents: a Peruvian scarf and the autobiographies of Maurice White and George Clinton. If you don't know who they are, we can't be friends. Just kidding, of course, but we probably don't have the same taste in music. They are the founders of, respectively, Earth Wind and Fire and Parliament/Funkadelic. Travalon took me to brunch at Crema Cafe, then we went to Fired Up and I made a little birthday cake fridge magnet. We drove out to Sauk and saw an eagle really close to us and a couple flying by the dam, then we came back to town and went to La Baguette, the French bakery, for treats. We saw the movie Coco, which I highly recommend, and then we were driving right by the Nitty Gritty Birthday Bar, so I figured why not stop in for my commemorative mug. And it was a 50th anniversary commemorative mug! When we got home, Anna Banana II called - it was so good to hear from her! So it was a really good birthday.

Here are a couple of photos and a video to give you some idea of my day today. This first one is a "before" picture of my birthday cake fridge magnet. It hasn't been fused yet.

Here is a shot of the eagle that was really close to us. Usually they are on the other side of the river.

Finally, this is a video of the beautiful moonrise tonight. For some reason my camera wasn't going to take a good picture of it, but the video isn't bad, and maybe you will enjoy the James Brown song in the background.

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Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Happy 2018!

I hope my readers had a Happy New Year’s celebration. Thursday evening I met up with Travalon, Jilly Moose, and Luxuli for OK Cap’s birthday celebration at the Greenbush Italian restaurant. Friday I had to work, then Hockey Girl wanted to meet at an Indian restaurant, so Travalon and I met her there, and Jilly Moose, Luxuli, and Prairie Man joined us. Afterwards we prayed a Divine Mercy Chaplet in Luxuli and Prairie Man’s downtown condo.

Saturday Travalon and I went to World of Beer for their “Beerunch,” then we went to the jeweler to get my engagement ring fixed, since one of the prongs holding the diamond in had gotten bent. In the evening we met Jilly Moose and Prairie Man at a sports bar to watch the Badgers win the Orange Bowl. That was a lot of fun.

Sunday we went to brunch with Rich, Mr. Icon, Cecil Markovitch, and the Single B-Boy after Mass. We watched that terrible Packers game - it's like they weren't even trying! We also went to the health club one last time before it gets so packed in January that you can’t even get a locker. We drove to Travalon’s friend’s house in Waupun, then we all went to dinner at the restaurant in Fond du Lac where we always get steak and French fried lobster. We went to someone else’s house after dinner, the people with the cool living room that looks like a hunting lodge, and a bunch of us played Cards Against Humanity, which was as much fun as I’d always heard.

Yesterday Travalon and I had a quiet day, watching a lot of bowl games. If Michigan hadn’t gone and blown the second half of their game, the Big Ten would have won all their bowl games. What a disappointment! Travalon was also really hoping Clemson would beat Alabama, but that didn’t happen. We did go to a party at my OTHER choir director’s beautiful apartment overlooking Turville Bay, and I saw a lot of my old choir peeps. One of them wrote a Christmas prayer that was set to music by the same composer who set my two poems to music, and the choir had performed it on Christmas Eve. We saw the supermoon rise over the lake – was that ever beautiful! Happy 2018, everyone!

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