Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Secret Park

Sorry that I cannot blog about making collard greens, because last night Travalon and I decided to go to Banzo to use a $5 off coupon, and then we walked around Tenney Park to see the flooding. What I did forget to blog about yesterday is when Rich, Kathbert, and I went to the Secret Park after we were done hiking in the Arboretum. This park is not visible from the street; it is completely enclosed by houses. Yet it is a good-sized part with a playground area, a basketball court, and a small soccer field. I remembered going to it years ago with another friend and knew it was in Kathbert’s neighborhood, so she went exploring and found it one day. It is called Midland Park because one of the sidewalks to get to it is on Midland, and it technically has an address on that street. I suppose because the park is so secret, people feel more secure about leaving toys there, so we saw some toy dump trucks, a soccer ball, and two basketballs. We used the basketballs to shoot hoops, and Rich and I were pretty terrible at it. Kathbert was much better. Anyway, now the secret is out.

Famous Hat

Monday, August 27, 2018

Bachelorette Weekend

I hope that my readers had a good weekend. I was a bachelorette myself, except for Friday evening, when Travalon and I went back to the Cherokee Country Club for their amazing Puttin’ on the Ritz Cod, and then we went to the Dane Dance. Unfortunately it was inside, at the Alliance Center, but the disco cover band was great. We missed the salsa band.

Saturday Travalon went up north to hang out with his friend who lives in Japan but is visiting for a few weeks. I met Rich, OK Cap, and that woman who doesn’t have a name on this blog for coffee, then OK Cap and I prayed the rosary. Rich, Kathbert, and I went for a hike in the Arboretum, then in the evening I met the Slow Food crowd for dinner at a ramen restaurant. It’s different than our usual style, when we each get a small plate and share with each other, since it isn’t too easy to share ramen. We all had a good time anyway.

Yesterday I had promised to spend the day with Hockey Girl, so she and I had brunch at Lazy Jane’s, then we heard a steel drum band (the same one Travalon and I heard on the Union Terrace) at the Orton Park Festival, then we went to Mother Fool’s Coffeehouse and ended with an early dinner at a Mexican restaurant in Middleton that does serve cactus as a side – always the sign of a good Mexican restaurant! We had originally been planning to go to a Mexican festival in Milwaukee, but she had a dance practice pretty early in the evening, so we wouldn’t have had much time there. In the evening I had band practice, and our guitarist gave us all produce from her garden. I took collard greens, so tonight I should have an adventure figuring out how to cook them. Maybe tomorrow I’ll blog about how they turned out.

Famous Hat

Friday, August 24, 2018

"Spare Time"

Sorry that I haven’t blogged much this week; nothing that exciting had happened to me, and so I was going to upload pictures but never seemed to have time. On Monday evening Travalon and I took a perhaps ill-advised trip to the health club to swim, considering all the flash flood warnings, but nothing happened to us. We were lucky – a gentleman on the west side was swept away and drowned by the floodwaters! Tuesday I just didn’t feel like blogging, and Wednesday Travalon and I were too busy playing tennis for me to get a chance to blog.

Yesterday we did have a more interesting evening. We went to Bierock, the new brewpub near our house, for dinner, and then we went to campus to get the beer that a faculty member had given to me for my help in getting her reimbursed. We took a walk along Observatory Hill, which has a wonderful view of the lake (and an actual observatory), then we went downtown so I could show Travalon the funny statue “Spare Time,” of a stick figure sitting on the roof of a building up on the square. If you don’t know it’s there, you might never notice it. I took an okay picture of it, although it was dark by then. In case you are looking for it yourself, it’s on top of the building housing Candina Chocolates. Then we took a walk along the Square and stopped for some mochi at Tavernakaya. Mochi are little balls of ice cream covered by bean curd, and we each had a green tea one and a coffee one. They were so good! So that was a fun weeknight evening.

Famous Hat

Monday, August 20, 2018

Horicon Marsh Boat Ride

I hope my readers managed to stay cool this weekend. Friday Travalon and I went to Dane Dances on the rooftop of the Monona Terrace. We really enjoyed the first band, which played lots of Motown music and disco hits, but the salsa band somehow wasn’t as enjoyable. I’m not sure why, since I love salsa. I had not heard this group before, and they did lots of salsa covers of hits in English, which may be part of what was throwing me about them. Salsa should be in Spanish, at least apparently in my book.

Saturday Travalon and I had a leisurely morning, then we headed to Africa Fest, where we listened to a traditional drum band and a reggae band and tried some West African food. We had both a baobab shake and hibiscus juice. Our favorite part of the festival was the Parade of Nations, with all the flags of African nations. They have some really beautiful, colorful flags! Also, some people were wearing gorgeous traditional African outfits. Then we drove to Horicon Marsh and took a sunset boat cruise. It was so beautiful. We saw lots of pelicans and cedar waxwings and blackbirds, a cormorant, and several kingfishers, muskrats, beavers, and herons. We even saw a bald eagle! One pelican had a large carp in its mouth, but as it flew away at our approach, the carp fell out of its mouth. A bad day for the pelican, but a good one for the carp! For our own dinner we went to Mullin’s, a drive-in in Fox Lake dating back to the 1930’s, then we took a walk in downtown Beaver Dam and discovered a river walk with a park containing musical instruments as part of the play equipment. I made a video that I will post soon.

Yesterday Travalon and I went to Yum Yum Fest, which is a charity event at Breese Stevens Field. You have to pay to get in (not that much), and then you have to pay for each dish you sample, so it’s not the cheapest event ever. Some of the food had really long lines, like this gnocchi with fois gras that was so worth the wait, and “magic coffee” ice cream that was also wonderful. We saw a Slow Food person there, and there was live music. We sampled a bunch of things until we were totally full and out of cash, and then we headed home and played tennis to work off some of those calories. In the evening our band had practice for the first time in forever. We had a slow summer for gigs, but now that autumn is approaching, we have a number of them booked. I already know I can’t make one, since it’s during our work department’s annual picnic. Several are at farmers’ markets, so if you are interested in seeing us perform, drop me a line and I’ll let you know when and where.

Famous Hat

Friday, August 17, 2018

Thursday Evening Concerts

I hope my readers had a good Feast of the Assumption. After Mass, Rich treated the woman without a name on this blog and me to dinner at Tutto Pasta, sitting outside to enjoy the lovely evening. Travalon was in Oconomowoc visiting his mother; he went to Mass in the morning.

Yesterday Travalon and I went to the Thursday concert on the roof on campus, but due to the intermittent rain it was inside – at least in a lovelier room than the one last month, overlooking the lake. However, unlike last month they did not have chicken nuggets, just some chips and salsa and cheese cubes. Oddest of all, the band that was supposed to be playing 60’s hits was nowhere to be found. We only got there a half hour after the concert was supposed to start, so I couldn’t believe they would already be taking a break. Had they not shown up yet? There were some instruments sitting around, a drum set and a couple of guitars, but no obvious band members. We gave up after fifteen minutes and went to the cottage party at the East Side Club, where everyone was a lot older than we are so they were all talking about attending 50th class reunions. That was well before I was born! After the party, Travalon and I went to the Central Park Sessions, but by then it was raining, and there was some lightning in the distance. There was a band playing sort of South African-sounding music, and everyone was crowded under a big tent listening to them, so we joined the crowd for a bit. However, the lightning was increasing in frequency, so we headed home. Anyway, it was still a fun evening, even if parts of it were a little odd.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

Mallards' Season End and a Watermelon Dinner

Monday evening Travalon and I went to the Mallards playoff game, as we generally do whenever they make it to the playoffs. Once again they were playing the Fond du Lac Dock Spiders, but instead of a close game, we were treated to the spectacle of our poor Mallards losing by a dozen runs. Their defensive playing stunk – practically every time the Spiders got on base, they scored a run. So a terrible ending to an otherwise great season, but at least it was a beautiful evening.

Yesterday Travalon and I went to Liliana’s for their watermelon dinner. (Travalon did not have the special menu; he had the seafood pasta that is one of his favorite things on the menu.) The salad with watermelon, arugula, feta, and pine nuts was delicious, and the main course of shrimp tacos with watermelon salsa was also very tasty, but the “dessert” was just a slice of watermelon with whipped cream on it. I was a little puzzled, since the menu had promised grilled watermelon with a cream puff, but the waitress said they must have given up on that. I can’t explain the missing cream puff, but Travalon and I were greatly amused at the thought of the chefs trying to grill watermelon and realizing it just dissolved into juice – at least, that’s why we assumed they gave up on grilling the watermelon. So we went to Next Door Brewery and had a slice of beer pie for real dessert, along with a pint of Unicorn Beer – it has glitter in it! They have a board there where you can buy a friend a beer, and we thought of who we could buy one for. Travalon suggested the Daughter of Denni, and I realized that would be perfect because the day before had been both her birthday and International Lefthanders’ Day… and she is left-handed. So we paid for a future beer for her, and the bartender wrote her name on the board, along with “Happy Lefthander Bday.” Perfect! I let her know it was there, so hopefully she gets a chance to redeem it.

Famous Hat

Monday, August 13, 2018

Trolleys and Boats and a Carillon

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Thursday evening I met up with Handy Woman for dinner, then Travalon and I watched the sunset at Tenney Park. Friday I drove out to Spring Green for the outdoor theater again, this time to watch Measure for Measure, a surprisingly relevant Shakespeare play that foresaw the “Me Too” movement hundreds of years ago. The Dairyman’s Daughter’s sister (the Dairyman’s Other Daughter?) told me a great story as we waited for the play to start: one day she had to sneak her little dog into daily Mass, so she sat unobtrusively in the back… and then a bat started flying around and freaking everyone out, so it panicked and landed right next to her. So much for secrecy! All the little old ladies were atwitter that there was not just a bat but a dog in church. So she snuck out as soon as Mass was over, and then the priest told her everyone thought she bolted because the bat had bitten her! He did advise her not to bring the dog back anytime soon.

Saturday morning the Rosary Ladies got together for the first time in forever, except for Jilly Moose, who informed us she couldn’t be there because she was going to be a “Godmooser.” Congratulations to Jilly Moose! Then Travalon and I drove to East Troy to visit their railroad museum and take a trolley ride. Unfortunately we did not get to go on the cute little trolleys, but that means we got to take pictures of them as we passed on the big electric train. We even got to go to the garage where they had several more cute trolleys. Travalon’s friend asked if we wanted to go on a boat ride, and he took us out on Pewaukee Lake on his speedboat. Was that ever fun! We stopped for dinner at a lakeside restaurant, and he was annoyed at the rude way another boat had tied up to the pier, barely leaving him any room. We ordered a pizza with tons of stuff on one half for him and me, and a plainer half for Travalon, and soon they brought a pizza for “John.” We said we weren’t John, but when the waiter described the pizza, it was ours. However, after we had eaten almost the whole thing, it turned out it was for the other people sitting out on the balcony – can you believe they ordered virtually the same pizza we did? At first we felt really bad, but then we realized they were the ones who parked their boat like such jerks, so I guess it was just karma. When our pizza came, they didn’t want it because it had green peppers (which we forgot about when we ate the wrong pizza), so the waiter gave us that pizza too. Then we headed out onto the lake, pink from the sunset, and boated around until after dark. Then Travalon and I went to hear a steel drum band on the Union Terrace. They played lots of wonderful songs – I made a short video of them playing “September” that just makes me so happy to watch over and over. In case you are wondering what Earth, Wind and Fire sounds like on steel drums, I will post it at some point. Travalon and I even danced on a little pier to their version of “Africa” by Toto! What a fantastic day!

Yesterday the air conditioning wasn’t working at church, so the priest made sure Mass was very short. Travalon and I used the extra time to take a boat ride, and we actually got pulled over by the boat police, who warned us that the lettering on our boat was wrong. How weird that we have been boating for four summers and this is the first they had noticed it! I met Hockey Girl for lunch, then Travalon and I came to campus for a carillon concert. He actually enjoyed it, because it is outside and there is no pressure to be an attentive audience member. Plus, bells – who doesn’t like bells? After that we drove to Crystal Lake campground and swam at their beach. They have lots of inflatable toys, and the slide was covered with tweens, but Travalon and I managed to gracelessly pull ourselves onto the thing that looks like a giant Danish. Even the tweens were ignoring the “Saturn,” but we did see one very fit adult guy scramble up to the top of it and then fall back into the water. We also swam in the pool, and then we got out and watched the sunset. Finally we headed home, and guess what we had for dinner? Leftover pizza! What an amazing weekend.

Famous Hat

Friday, August 10, 2018

The Wish Tree

The other day I was taking a walk on the lakeshore path at lunch when I saw a notice that there was live music at a garden on campus. I went to the garden and walked around, enjoying the sounds of the performer singing and playing guitar. A couple of days ago I went back to the garden again, and it was much quieter there, but there was a “Wish Tree” sign that encouraged passersby to make a wish and hang it on the tree. They were oddly specific about this wish, too – it wasn’t for just anything, but for spending a month in a foreign country, and why you would choose that one. You were supposed to write this wish on one of those paper wristbands you get at waterparks and festivals to show that you paid, and then you were supposed to put the “wristband” around a branch of the larch tree. I wrote that I would like to spend a month in Ireland to practice using the language. It really was an impractical language to study, considering that everyone who speaks it is bilingual in English, but it is certainly a fascinating one structurally. I would even go so far as to say it is weirder than Basque, if not altogether different in the way that the subject of the sentence is sometimes (always in Basque) the recipient of the action rather than the agent of it, or what we would call in English the passive voice. It does make you stop and think why your own native language is set up the way it is when you encounter one so different, an experience I never really had with Romance languages – their big difference seems to be having the adjectives after the noun instead of before it. I think the single weirdest thing about Gaelic is the way the first sound of the word can change depending on the part of speech or gender or, for verbs, whether it is a negative or question form. Even Basque is not that weird.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 8, 2018

Work Instructions

I am surprised at how happy I am to be in the beating heart of the campus. Now I have my own office, which unfortunately does not overlook the lake. Instead, it overlooks the carillon. (I have not heard it playing yet, though.) When I mentioned to Tiffy and the Daughter of Denni that at my last job I was expected to figure out my job myself, but then I was expected to leave explicit instructions for my replacement, they had both had the same experience themselves. We didn’t know if it was a generational thing, like that Gen X-ers were expected to be self-reliant enough to figure things out ourselves, but the Millennials need to be told how to do everything. However, Tiffy thinks that in the old days they always had instructions for how a person had to do their job, so maybe we just came in during a weird phase when jobs were becoming more computerized, so that what the previous person did had nothing to do with what we were expected to do. Anyway, it made me feel better that I wasn’t the only one who had this experience. Has anyone else had this happen? Feel free to describe your experience in the comments section.

Famous Hat

Monday, August 6, 2018

Supper Club Weekend

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine started Thursday evening, when Travalon and I went to the Flamingle Party. The “Flamingle” is a newsletter put out by the alumni association, and they had pink treats and fun games and a very interesting panel discussion on how the newsletter is put together. Then we went to the Monona Terrace to see the tile I had gotten Travalon for an anniversary present, which they had just installed, and then we picked up our clay cacti at Fired Up.

Friday I took the day off of work for the annual bike ride for the birthday of the Daughter of Denni. This year I didn’t ride, because I had to pick up Tiffy when she came to town. We drove to several of the stops on the tour and walked to one of them, reprising the walk Travalon and I took last year along the scenic shores of Lake Monona. Then the two of us went to the outdoor theater to meet the Dairyman’s Daughter and her sister. We saw a very funny but cynical play by Shaw called Heartbreak House.

Saturday Travalon had to work, so I met Rich, Tiffy, and another lady for coffee, then we ladies went to the Farmers’ Market. Tiffy and I had lunch on State Street, then when Travalon got off of work, the three of us took a long boat ride back into the marsh, where we saw a couple of deer by the edge of the water. They looked like they were pondering swimming out to the island. In the evening the three of us met Rich at a supper club called Hill Top out in Pine Bluff, where they have 36 flavors of ice cream drinks on the menu. We had dinner there and then ice cream drinks, of course – I had a red velvet one.

Yesterday Travalon and I joined Cecil Markovitch, the Single B-Boy, and Rich’s Brazilian roommate for a hike in Parfrey’s Glen. All the men but the Brazilian were wearing dark blue shirts and khaki shorts, so I had to take a picture of the “odd man out.” (I was wearing a bright coral T-shirt myself.) The others went to hike up Gibralter Rock, but Travalon and I went swimming in Devil’s Lake, which surprisingly I have never done. It was wonderful! You could see the people way up on the bluffs looking down at the lake. We got to ride the Merrimac Ferry both ways, and we met up with the other guys again for dinner at Fitz’s, a wonderful supper club on Lake Wisconsin.

Famous Hat

Friday, August 3, 2018

Photos of a Famous Hat Summer

It has been awhile since I posted any photos, so here is a view of my summer so far. First are a couple of shots of plants I got at the Ladies' Night, two air plants and the succulent garden in a wine bottle.

Here is a shot of the Steely Dan concert we went to:

These are some funny mushrooms I found while on my lunchtime walk at my previous job:

Behold my new Farmers' Market cactus that looks like a pickle!

Rich's rosebush bloomed in this lovely configuration:

Here is a shot of Travalon and me in the boat at our health club's picnic:

This is the unicorn bobblehead we got at the Mallards game. We traded the second one for the light-up unicorn horn - see below for a video of me wearing it!

I like the way the people at my new job think! Check out this poem on the break room fridge. I particularly like the new adverb "chocolately."

Following are some shots of the fireboat ride we took on Sturgeon Bay with Anna Banana II and Jilly Moose.

Here are some shots from Cave Point County Park:

The giant Lombardi Trophy at Lambeau Field!

Next are some shots from our Fourth of July camping trip. First, our tent at night:

This is the lovely beach at Castle Rock (Juneau) County Park:

And the other place we swam, Mill Bluff State Park:

I love the carillon on campus, and now I walk by it all the time:

Here is a shot Travalon's friend's wife took of the Capitol when we saw the 80's band on the roof of the Monona Terrace:

At Concert on the Square, I took this shot of the sunset making the Capitol all rosy:

Here are a couple of shots of us at Restaurant Week, when we heard Banana Wind at Mariner's and Bahama Bob at Captain Bill's:

I signed up for "New Employee Orientation" after only fourteen years on campus, mostly so I could get a campus tour on the trolleybus:

Here is a shot showing the beautiful springs feeding into Token Creek:

This is the view out of my office window!

Our department sometimes makes T-shirts. It took me five minutes of pondering the Cyrillic to figure out what this one said:

Did you figure it out? It's "Wisconsin"! This one of the Scandinavian vowels is also really cool, but the lines are not actually part of the shirt, and I had to laugh at my reflection in this picture:

Here Travalon and I are at the Flamingle Party. I will blog about that soon.

They finally installed the tile I had made for our anniversary on the Monona Terrace rooftop. Here you can see the view from our tile facing the Capitol and the lake:

Here are our clay cacti! First is a shot of them when we first made them, then after they had been fired once and we painted them, and then the finished pieces. To me, Travalon's looks like a Dr. Seuss cactus. His is far more imaginative than mine are.

Finally, a couple of videos: me wearing the light-up unicorn horn, and the white-faced gibbons singing at the zoo! When we sang back to them, they were really fascinated, but I didn't make a video of that.

Famous Hat