Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Boating in Warner Bay

Travalon loves his new job, and he is a lot less tired driving kids around all day than he was after cleaning cars all day, so we have been more active in the evenings. Monday we swam for quite a while in the outdoor pool at our health club – hopefully we will make it there more often now that we both get done with work earlier! Last night was gorgeous, so we went for a long boat ride into Warner Bay. We saw some crazy stuff, like an old guy snorkeling by Governor’s Island, and a fleet of tiny sailboats in Warner Bay. Maybe it was a kids’ sailing lesson? They were so cute. I love to watch sailboats, especially when they put up their colorful spinnakers like the ones that were out racing last Wednesday evening. Someday I would love to sail on a boat with its spinnaker up – Travalon’s brother says then you can go faster than the wind! After our boat ride, Travalon and I played some tennis, and our neighbor’s little white dog (he looks like some sort of terrier mix) kept running after our ball from outside of the fence around the court. He really wanted to get in and chase our ball! Luckily his owner had her own ball for him to chase after, so then he didn’t have to be too disappointed that he couldn’t have ours. He was so cute! What a lovely evening.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 16, 2018

Early Music Festival and World Cup

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Thursday evening Travalon and I went to the Monona Terrace with his old high school friend and his wife, and we listened to an 80’s cover band. It was a gorgeous night, and the other couple were really taken with the venue. “We have to come back with our kids!” they said.

Friday I took the afternoon off of work and met Tiffy and the Daughter of Denni for lunch on Library Mall, where we all went to a different food cart: I went to the Indonesian one, Tiffy went to the Peruvian one, and the Daughter of Denni went to the umami one. We went to the participant concert, which is like an Early Music Festival talent show, with some groups obviously amateurs and others just mind-blowingly good. We joined Denni, his wife, and their buddy for beer at the Union, then the Daughter of Denni’s partner picked us up and drove us to Ichiban for dinner, and Rich joined us so we had an almost even gender divide. Only we ladies went to the Schola Antiqua concert; they are a vocal group from Chicago who specialize in early sacred music, and they did a sort of vespers service with lots of fauxbourdon, which I only just realized when I heard it was something we did a lot of in my OTHER choir.

Saturday Travalon and I met Rich and Tiffy for coffee, then Rich left and the rest of us met the Daughter of Denni and her de facto stepdaughter for lunch at the Bel Air Cantina. We all went to a free loud band concert, then the other ladies left for Art Fair on the Square and Fete de Marquette while Travalon and I relaxed on the Union Terrace. In the evening I met Tiffy and the Daughter of Denni for the spectacular final concert of the Early Music Festival, when all the students and faculty perform as a massive choir and orchestra. The first half was a lot of hymns by Luther, and the second half included amazing pieces by Buxtehude and Hammerschmidt, who is also a great favorite of mine. Next year the theme is “The Grand Tour,” so I am guessing they will revisit favorites from the past nineteen festivals.

Yesterday after Mass Travalon and I watched that disappointing final game of the World Cup. Considering his heritage, of course he was pulling for Croatia, and I always go for the underdog. However, France prevailed 4-2. A woman at Hawkes, where we watched the game, bought us a mimosa, and then she must have had good karma because she won not one but two door prizes at halftime. My band had a gig right after that at Capital Brewery, a fundraiser for the Humane Society, and it was so hot that I was afraid my mandolin might slip right out of my sweaty hands! However for whatever reason I seemed to be playing really well, and people noticed and told me afterwards, “Girl, you can really play that thing!” My solo during our last piece, “Ashoken Farewell,” seemed to go particularly well, maybe because I was praying so hard that Mandy didn’t go flying out of my hands when I played the tremolo! I bid on a piece of artwork, a painting of a very cute bunny, and had the winning bid. Then Travalon and I ran to Fired Up because Jilly Moose had told us they were having an activity to make little clay cacti. I hadn’t signed up ahead of time, having no idea how soon I could get there from a gig on the other side of town, but when we got there, the owner happily gave us five lumps of clay, so I made four cacti and Travalon made a very elaborate one. In the evening Rich had a birthday party for the Dairyman’s Daughter, who had a big birthday a few days earlier. Kathbert, Cecil Markovitch, and the Single B-Boy were there too. The birthday girl got lots of funny cards, but none better than Cecil’s, which had a picture of a dinosaur chasing a caveman on the front, and then inside it said, “Hey, look! I found one of those ‘What happened the year you were born’ cards!” I am still laughing about that!

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 12, 2018

Lots of Buxtehude

I have been busy with the Early Music Festival, although this year I am not taking classes. Tuesday evening they had a concert put on by various faculty members in the Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest, which is where I sang for many years in the choir. It was a beautiful space for music that was originally sung in the Marienkirke, the Lutheran church in Lubeck. (Though of course the church was built to be a Catholic one.) Then yesterday there was a “fringe” concert that was not part of the official festival but was based on the same theme: Lubeck. The second half of the concert was all Buxtehude, and the first half was all pieces that were found in the Marienkirke library. It was also in a church, the Presbyterian chapel on campus, and afterwards there was a marzipan reception because the organizer and viola player had first had marzipan in Lubeck. While the performers were not the professionals at the official festival concerts, they were also really, really good. They performed one piece that I have on a CD, and they were just as good as the performers on the CD. We are so lucky that in this town we have such a vibrant early music scene.

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Monday, July 9, 2018

Wonderful Week Off

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I had a great week off. Tuesday Travalon and I went camping at Roche-a-Cri State Park for my half-birthday, which was an adventure. We have both camped many times before, but always with other people who knew what they were doing. This was our first time doing it ourselves, but we figured it out and finally had a roaring campfire to grill burgers over and sing around while I played the ukulele. Only a few other people were at the park, so we felt like we had it to ourselves.

On the 4th of July we drove to Castle Rock County Park and swam in the lake. Warning: there are two Castle Rock County Parks, one in Adams County and one in Juneau County. I’ll save you the time by telling you the Juneau County one is the one you want to go to. We drove to Buckhorn State Park and grilled the rest of our burgers for lunch, then we went to Mill Bluff State Park and swam in the pond there. Back in town we joined Rich and a large crowd of other people for the Patriotic Concert on the Square. No cannons during the 1812 Overture this year. Afterwards Travalon and I went to the East Side Club to watch the Monona fireworks.

Thursday Travalon and I had a relaxing day. We had lunch outside at the Free House and then hiked on Governor’s Island. He went fishing with a buddy back in his home area while I met Light Bright for dinner and then shopping at Goodwill. Thrift store shopping is the way to go: you can buy a whole outfit for $5! Then I went to the new tavern in our neighborhood and sat outside enjoying a craft beer while watching the fireworks from the Mallards game across the street. It was a perfect view.

Friday Travalon had to work. I went to a retirement party at my old job for one of the other people who got a layoff notice. He decided to just retire a year early instead of looking for another position. It was a very quiet day over there, so I spent time talking to Handy Woman. In the evening Travalon and I took the free Middleton Trolley just for fun, but then it passed the Capital Brewery and we saw they had a live band playing, so we got off and listened to them until the trolley returned. That was a super fun and free activity, except that of course we enjoyed a couple of beers.

Saturday Travalon and I went to the Farmers’ Market, but we got there kind of late and some of the vendors were already packing up. Tons of people were still shopping there. Tiffy came to town for the Early Music Festival, and she, the Daughter of Denni, and I had dinner at Himal Chuli’s and then enjoyed the first concert, where they played some Buxtehude. The theme of the festival this year is “Journey to Lubeck,” which early music enthusiasts will probably realize refers to the trip Bach took to study with Buxtehude. Since Buxtehude is a great favorite of mine, I am very excited about this year’s theme.

Yesterday after Mass one of our choir members had brunch for all of us at her beautiful house. Her backyard is particularly wonderful. Travalon and I had promised to bring orange juice, and when we stopped for it, we were ecstatic to find these delicious smoked Gouda crackers we had discovered on our trip down south in March but hadn’t been able to find up here. Then Tiffy and I took a $5 pontoon boat ride on Lake Mendota, and then we had dinner at Roast on State Street before the Early Music concert. This one was Piffaro, the loud band, and while they didn’t do any Buxtehude, they did focus on older influences on Bach, like some old Lutheran hymns that made me very nostalgic for my OTHER choir director’s choir. However, he is retired now so there is no going back.

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Monday, July 2, 2018

Limnology Department Open House

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday I had a great time at the Limnology Department's open house. Not only did I get to go into the mysterious building on the lake, but I got free ice cream and a boat ride! On the boat we pulled tiny creatures out of the water and watched them swim around in a jar. Why didn't I major in Limnology?

Saturday morning Travalon had to work, so I met Rich, the Single B-Boy, and another woman I often mention on this blog for coffee. The other woman talked Rich and me into going to the zoo, where we sang with white-handed gibbons and ate Zanzamint ice cream. In the evening Travalon and I went out with some Slow Food folks to enjoy Sustainable Seafood Week. That was fun and delicious. One couple are a real pair of foodies, yet totally down to earth. They are the best.

Yesterday Travalon and I joined most of the rest of his family in celebrating his mother's wedding anniversary, then we went to Spring Green to see the blooming cacti, but not too many of them bloomed this year. We went to evening Mass at St. Paul's and then hung out on the Union Terrace.

I am on vacation all this week - what a rough way to start a new job, ey? Today I hiked on Governor's Island and at Cherokee Marsh, then after dinner Travalon and I went out to play some tennis as we often do, but we were kind of weirded out by a plane circling overhead. It was a big passenger jet plane, and it circled six times before finally flying off. I know we aren't far from the airport, but it is not a terribly busy airport, and we couldn't figure out why a plane would need to circle like that.

This blog is being weird. I was going to post a bunch of photos and a couple of videos, but right now all it is letting me post is this video of my band playing a very boring waltz at Make Music Madison. Enjoy!

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