Tuesday, July 31, 2018

Anti-Post Malone Post

I should have been paying more attention – my recent poem about swans was a milestone on this blog because it was my 2000th post! My blogging has slowed down somewhat these days, but that is a lot of posts! I think my favorite is still this one.

Yesterday Travalon asked me if I know the song by Post Malone called “Better Now,” because he has to listen to the hip hop station at work, and they play that song all the time. I said yes, I hate that song and everything I’ve ever heard by Post Malone. In fact, I looked him up on Wikipedia and found out he is some rich kid whose dad bought him a career, which explains how he got so far without any talent. Travalon was inspired by all this to send a message to the hip hop radio station, asking them to quit playing “Better Now.” I doubt that his plan will work, because someone wants them to play that song over and over. In fact, on my short ride from the transfer point to home, I heard it yesterday, and that was like a six-minute drive. The question is, who wants to hear this song all the time? Is it really the kids who listen to this station, or is Daddy paying for the song to get played all the time? The only positive is that popular songs usually last about two weeks, so we have at most a fortnight of this torture left.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 30, 2018

Tropical Music and Tubing

I hope that my readers had a good weekend. Thursday Travalon and I got to do something exciting: meet Richard Bonomo’s brother! They don’t look exactly alike, but I could see a slight family resemblance.

Friday Travalon and I had really delicious fish at the Cherokee Country Club, then we went to Matcha Tea House for their Midsummer Night Brunch, not to eat (since we hadn’t been sure what they would serve) but to try the meertz that Funk Factory made with their tea. We ended the evening by going to Capital Brewery and watching a reggae band called Natty Nation. What a wonderful evening!

Saturday Travalon and I went to Crema CafĂ© for brunch, then we walked to Fired Up and painted the little clay cacti we made a couple of weeks ago. We went to Atwood Fest, which is like a smaller Willy Street Festival, including two guys dressed as dinosaurs for no obvious reason. We listened to a couple of enjoyable bands there. Then we tried once again to find the headwaters of the Yahara River and ended up stumbling across a great hiking area, the Token Creek Conservancy. Lots of springs and pine trees – it was so beautiful! We had dinner at Mariner’s to hear Banana Wind, a Jimmy Buffet cover band, but then we realized Bahama Bob was playing at Captain Bill’s so we ran over there to hear him too. What a weekend of tropical music! The only part of the day that didn’t work out was that the Mallards had a very quick game, so when we went to Bierock to watch the fireworks after the game, they had already transpired. Anyway, that is a very small complaint about an otherwise wonderful day.

Yesterday after Mass, Rich had brunch at his house, then he, Travalon, Cecil Markovitch, the Single B-Boy, Rich's Brazilian housemate and his wife and daughter, and I drove down to Albany to go tubing on the Sugar River. (The Brazilians decided to rent a canoe instead of tubes.) The river was very crowded with people tubing, some of them blasting music at an obnoxious level, but someone we passed gave Travalon and me some pretzels. The river was very slow that day, so we started just after one and didn’t get off the river until dinnertime. We went to the Center Tavern in Albany because a drunk guy had once told Travalon and me that they had the best cheeseburgers in the state there, and they were very good. So it was a wonderful, relaxing weekend of beautiful weather, tropical music, and floating down the river.

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Friday, July 27, 2018

Saga of the Swans

It is long past time that I post another poem, so here is a tale of some swans:

Once upon a time, on a silver pond shrouded in mist,
There lived a pair of swans whose souls had had met and kissed.
Then daily life caught up to them, and the girl swan found
That whenever there was work to do, the boy swan wasn’t around.
The girl swan built the nest, the girl swan gathered the food,
But she was afraid to say that the boy swan was no good.
Soon they had two cygnets, and she loved one with all her heart,
But the other felt all her anger that should have been the boy swan’s part.
The little cygnet wondered why her mother hated her so.
She tried to be obedient and to put on a good show.
No matter what she did, her mother was always mad,
And so the little cygnet figured she was inherently bad.
Then she grew into a swan and flew far, far away.
She found a mate who loved her dearly and wanted her to stay.
She realized that she was good, and that the girl swan lied
When to convince her of her faults she had tried and tried.
So she let her mother’s anger be at the fact she flew away,
And she never had to hear the lies the girl swan liked to say.
Would they ever reconcile? The mist makes it unclear,
For what the cygnet wanted to say, the girl swan would not hear.

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Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Taking the "Sherman Flyer"

Last Thursday I showed Travalon the bus stop where I catch the 28 bus heading home, and he said, “Your face just lights up when you talk about mass transit!” I do love taking the 28 bus, which goes straight from the North Transfer Point to right outside my office building and runs every five minutes or so during peak hours. I had heard people talking about the 29, the “Sherman Flyer,” which supposedly goes more directly downtown from the Northside but only runs twice in the morning and twice in the afternoon. In general this is not a good option for me, since I am often doing something downtown and need more options to go home. Also, I wasn’t sure where it picked up – “By the Walgreens” – but I had not noticed a bus stop there. However, as Travalon and I were walking to Bierock after the Mallards game on Saturday, I saw the bus stop right there. How had I never noticed it before? The 29 picks up at 7:02, and generally that is when I am getting into my car to head to the North Transfer Point, but this morning I woke up early and managed to get to the Walgreens bus stop well before seven. At first nobody else was there, so I was a little concerned that I had misunderstood, but two minutes before the bus came, about a dozen people descended upon the bus stop. I was ready for a grand adventure and got on the bus, which didn’t seem to get me to campus any faster than the 28. It goes down East Washington and around the Capitol Square and then down State Street, plus it stops a block away from my office building instead of right in front of it. This afternoon I will have to catch the 29 heading back or I will be stuck walking all the way from the North Transfer Point to the Walgreens, which probably isn’t that bad a walk on a lovely day like today. Anyway, I have seen the 29 going down State Street when I was going places after work, so I should be able to catch it. And that is my big Mass Transit Adventure for today.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Taco 'Tinerary

Sorry that I didn’t blog yesterday – I completely forgot! Hopefully my readers had a good weekend. Friday Travalon and I took OK Cap out for dinner. She broke her shoulder and has been somewhat incapacitated, but we figured she could indulge in a fish fry!

Saturday Travalon had to work, then he and I went on a hike on Governor’s Island. In the evening we went to a Mallards game to watch them play the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, since Travalon was fascinated with that name. And they were top of the league, so it was a really good, close game – not high scoring, but lots of great defensive playing. In the end the Mallards won 2-1, and it was such a satisfying victory. Afterwards there were fireworks, then we went to the new microbrew pub just across the street from the Mallards called Bierock. They have lots of craft beer on tap and do the five ounce pours that we like.

Sunday Travalon and I were planning to do what he called the “Taco ‘Tinerary”: trying a single taco at several restaurants in town to find out where the best one was. In theory you can eat several single tacos and not get too full, but at the first place we had Mexican street corn too, and then at the second place I had also had grilled cactus while Travalon had two tacos. At that point we were too full to have any more, so we walked to Funk Factory, running into Kathbert along the way. (She just walked with us but did not join us for a sour beer.) We went for a hike at Cherokee Marsh and then checked out another hiking spot on Bong Road, which had a stunning view but not much of a hiking trail. By then we were too tired to continue the Taco ‘Tinerary, so we just had dinner at home. Maybe at some point in the future we will continue the Quest to Find the Best Taco…

Travalon was the best husband yesterday. I forgot my coffee and didn’t realize it until I got to the bus stop, so he drove to my office and brought it, along with two Christmas cacti. So then I was able to have my coffee and bring some plants to work! He also made dinner last night. So sweet!

Here is a not half-bad photo of me someone took to put on the website at work.

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Friday, July 20, 2018

Watching Sailboats on the Union Terrace

Wednesday evening Travalon went to visit his mother right after work, so I went to Concert on the Square with Richard Bonomo and El Vegetariano. The theme this week was the music of Journey and Queen, and the Capitol Square was packed. The first half the orchestra did Journey songs, and they did all their big hits, but in the second half they did some rather obscure Queen songs. They did play “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and we assumed that was the big finish… but then they played another non-hit! Odd choice to end a concert with…

Last night Travalon and I had such a relaxing evening. Every third Thursday during the summer there is a rooftop concert on campus (my regular readers may remember how I once went to one with Light Bright and got beaten up by a sunflower), and yesterday was a gypsy swing band. It had been raining earlier, but the sun was back out by the time of the concert, so we went with high hopes that it would be on the rooftop. However, they had decided to move it inside, so we had a few hors d’oeuvres and listened to the band, then we wandered out to the Union Terrace and had cheeseburgers and corn on the cob while watching sailboats. There were so many out yesterday evening! One had a really beautiful red, white, and green spinnaker. On the way back to the car, we stopped into the campus art museum; we particularly enjoyed the rooms with Asian and African art. One thing about having to start work earlier – I get done earlier and have a lot more evening to enjoy!

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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.

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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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