Wednesday, July 31, 2019

Poor Beheaded Calla Lily

This evening when I went to my garden plot, I got a rude surprise: someone or something had eaten the bloom off my calla lily! The deep orange leaf is still there, and the stem did not look cleanly cut, so either someone tore it off or a creature ate it. I thought it would be strange for a rabbit to eat the highest part of the plant, but a fellow gardener suggested a deer had done it, and that made a lot more sense. Then Travalon and I played tennis for almost an hour, and when I would bend over to fetch the ball, my back would crack and it felt so good. Who needs a chiropractor when you can just play a rousing game of tennis? Much cheaper and more fun!

Here are some recent photos. This is my succulent in almost full bloom. It may have even more now, but at this point some of them are dying. Anyway, you get the idea - it's really pretty.

And this is my orchid with more of the flowers open. There is still one unopened bud.

Speaking of flowers, there is a golden water lily blooming at the Allen Centennial garden. Most of them are white or yellow, but this one is a light orange, and before they had a lavender one and a magenta one.

Here is a selfie I took with my colleague as we were on the alumni boat ride last Friday.

At the Mallards game Travalon and I went to last Friday, they had a petting zoo beforehand. Here is a cute photo of the pony, the alpaca, and some sheep hanging out together. I was scared watching the kids grab the little chicks, though - how many of the poor things survived the evening?

This is a funny sign they had at the Hillsboro Brewpub:

And finally, here are a couple of shots of the sunset we saw on Monday from our boat.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 30, 2019

Neighbor's Funeral

Last night Travalon and I took our boat out for a ride. This was only the second ride of the summer, and the sun was already going down, so we knew it would be a short one. We went back into the marsh, but it was so weedy that we gave up and went out to the lake, far enough out to see downtown in the distance. There was a beautiful sunset, and I took a couple of pictures, but they really don’t do it justice. It was getting dark by the time we headed back, and we didn’t have a light for the boat… and then the motor died. At first we weren’t too worried, but Travalon was unable to get any sign of life from it, so we sighed and grabbed the paddles. Fortunately another boat came by and towed us in. We have been lucky like that whenever we have motor problems, or maybe it is just that other boaters are always willing to lend a helping hand.

This morning I went to the funeral of a neighbor, and I was shocked to realize nobody else was wearing black except the family. Is there a rule I missed that you aren’t supposed to wear black to a funeral unless you are related to the deceased? I didn’t really know anyone there, but then another neighbor came and sat next to me during the Mass. We saw some of our other neighbors behind us, but they disappeared immediately afterwards, and the lady who sat next to me had to get going, so I just went into work. They were having a luncheon at a nearby restaurant, but I thought that would have been awkward if I didn’t know anyone there. I have to say the deceased was one of the people I always talked to at neighborhood functions, so if she were there, I would have gone, but of course she can’t be at her own funeral luncheon. Too bad, because she was a very entertaining lady. She died in her sleep at an advanced age, which is what most of us are hoping for. Of course, I know those random people who want to be martyred by polar bears, but I’d like to go exactly like Travalon’s grandfather: taking a nap under a tree on a sunny day, after a long life. How does it get better than that?

Famous Hat

Monday, July 29, 2019

Mallards and Forward FC

I hope that my readers had a good weekend. Travalon and I had a very sports-filled one. On Friday evening we got $5 tickets to the Mallards game, where they were once again playing the Wisconsin Rapids Rafters, who had beaten them so decisively at the last game we had attended. This time the Mallards were up by two runs but blew it right at the end to lose by one. I ran into an old coworker there who, like me, escaped from the dysfunctional department I was working for when I started this blog. We also ran into OK Cap, who was there with her sister-in-law and nephew, just as they were leaving. We stuck it out to the bitter end, but the Mallards just couldn’t come back. Still, it was a beautiful evening and a very good time, except briefly when the guy next to me tried to grab my beer, claiming he was sure it was his beer. That was a little odd.

Saturday morning Travalon and I joined Rich, Lute Player (who needs a new name, because I believe she no longer plays the lute), and her husband for coffee before a free organ concert by my OTHER choir director. Travalon and I spent some time at my garden plot weeding, then in the evening we met some Slow Food people for a pop-up noodle restaurant in a coffee shop on Willy Street. We had to eat and run to get to something really fun – we went to our first Madison Forward FC game. This is the game we call “soccer” in this country, although it makes a lot more sense to call it “football” than the game we call that, because it’s played with an actual spheroid ball kicked by actual feet. The team is owned by the same guy who owns the Mallards, and it’s an even bigger party atmosphere. A bunch of people chanted and drummed Brazilian-sounding rhythms through the entire game, and just like on TV, the players really emoted when they got tripped by the opposing team. Orlando’s goalie in particular seemed to be angling for an Oscar. Our team had a couple of goals rescinded, but there was no announcer so we had no idea why. In the end we won 1-0. I would definitely go to another Forward game!

Yesterday we had brunch with the choir, then we went to Greek Fest because OK Cap and Jilly Moose had said they would be there. We did see Cecil Markovitch and Trinidad Cap and his mother, but the ladies did not arrive until we had to get going. We drove to Hillsboro on a very windy road with lots of interesting rock formations, then we had a beer at their brewery. Hillsboro is near Mauston, so we went there and took a walk on a path along the river, with a great view of their beautiful church, St. Patrick’s. Then we went to Devil’s Lake and swam, which was wonderful. It is such a beautiful spot. We took the ferry both ways, and on the way back we had ice cream. By then it was too late to go water my garden plot, but it rained overnight so everything should be in good shape. Here’s to plenty of kale and ground cherries in our future!

Famous Hat

Friday, July 26, 2019

Lunchtime Boat Ride

Today I took a long lunch break and went down to the alumni association with my colleague from Asian Languages. She had just returned a few days ago from a family trip to China, so I figured she needed to ease back into work, and I was allowed to bring a guest. (Or more than one, as it turns out.) I am a member of the alumni association, and on Fridays in the summer there are free boat rides for members and guests. Last Friday they canceled them due to excessive heat, and the week before that I was busy with the Early Music Festival, and I didn’t know about them before that. The boat can hold ten people besides the captain and the coordinator, and most of the other people were retirees, although there was one guy who had just graduated and joined the association. The captain took us out to David Buoy, the buoy that the Limnology Department has put in the deepest part of Lake Mendota to measure all sorts of things, and he told us about it and also talked about how now the students are taught about the Ho Chunk people who lived in this area. He said, “Things have changed a lot since you were in college,” and then he added to my colleague (who did not go to this university but one in China) and me, “Not so much for you two,” since we were decades younger than our fellow boaters. Though I will admit that a lot has changed since I was a student at this university. The ride was about half an hour long, and it was a perfect day, with a refreshing breeze and just enough sunshine but not so much that we would burn. It was just what my colleague needed to welcome her back to this country – she said the weather here is much nicer than in Shanghai, where it was hot and humid, but then she missed the heat wave last week. It was so bad that it caused cancellations, like boat rides…

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 25, 2019

Videos of the Jimmy Buffett Concert

Last night Travalon and I joined Richard Bonomo, the Single B-Boy, and El Vegetariano up at Concert on the Square for their Beatles concert. It was quite a bit louder than a usual concert up there, but Travalon loved it and sang along to every song. During the second half of the concert, they did the entirety of Abbey Road to celebrate its 50th anniversary.

Tonight we went to the garden because they make pizzas there on Thursday evenings, but they had run out of pizza because it was a free beer night (which I did not know), so Travalon suggested we go to Alt Brew. I had a pineapple gluten-free beer, and we split a gluten-free pizza that was amazing. The ones I have had before had terrible crusts like cardboard, but the crust on this pizza was even better than a regular pizza crust. You can apparently buy them at Hy-Vee. We sat outside on their little patio that overlooks a parking lot, and beyond that a marsh, and few cars were there so we had a clear view of it. It was a lovely evening.

Here are some photos. The first one is a pretty mirror I bought at the Irish store in Dubuque. "Slainte" is like saying "Cheers" in English - it means "to your health" and is what they say during toasts. It is pronounced like "slawncha."

This is an orchid I rescued from my church, where someone had abandoned it after it was done blooming. I brought it home and put it in my plant room, and it grew some new leaves. Then it grew a long stalk with buds on it! This is the first blossom, but it has two open now, and several more buds.

This is my flame-colored calla lily. As you can see, its first leaf is orange too! Hopefully it grows some green leaves, or will it even be able to photosynthesize?

Here are a couple of videos from the Jimmy Buffett show. The first one is the end of the song "Volcano," showing all the people in Hawaiian shirts, and the enthusiastic woman next to me who had neon-colored leis on.

This is a guy wearing a light-up shark fine on his head. There were actually four of these guys, so I should have made a video of all of them walking in a line. You would think they would wear these during the song "Fins," which was later in the show, but I only saw them during "It's Five O'Clock Somewhere."

And finally, this is a video to show how going to my garden plot is like going into a Disney movie, with the bunny and the birds and butterflies playing among the flowers.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 24, 2019

How to Live Happily Ever After

People always tell me how lucky I am to have found Travalon, and they are right. I honestly do feel like after the wedding I have lived "happily ever after," and there is a simple formula for any woman to do so:

1. Marry the nice guy instead of the bad boy you feel the "spark" for.

2. That's all I've got for you. Seriously.

Of course, there is something to be said for continuing to realize how lucky you are to have married the right person, which keeps you from taking him for granted. I think this lesson is not just for women, because if anything men are worse about rating physical attraction above all else, and then they end up alone and lonely because they are a nickel out looking for a dime (or a penny out looking for a dollar bill). They would do well to heed the words of that silly calypso song from the 60's: "If you want to be happy for the rest of your life, make an ugly woman your wife." Not that I am saying you should find the most physically repulsive person out there, but both genders should realize that basing everything on physical attraction and a sense of "conquest" is not a winning formula for lasting happiness. Instead, we should judge each other by the content of our character.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 23, 2019

Garden Report July 2019

The other day I was reading a discussion about sexism in the way presidential candidates are described by the press, and one person commented that he didn’t like “identity politics,” and he wanted someone who could “represent everyone.” I found this extremely patronizing because it implies that a white man can represent everyone fairly but, say, a black woman can’t. Also, I would say that looking around at our world, the white men in power have in fact made decisions that most benefit white men, and if there were more variety in the people in government, while each person might be advocating for people most like themselves, at least we would have a variety of advocates. It reminds me of a science cartoon I saw once that said: “This is proven to cause cancer in rats and white males.” Exactly. Why is “white male” always the default? If you were basing it on reality, the default should probably be “Asian female” worldwide, and “white female” in this country since there are more women than men. How about we make the default “human” and then elect a wide variety of people to cover the spectrum?

Last night I went to the community garden, and it was like a paradise on earth: people had planted tall flowers along their borders, and birds flew back and forth and landed on the fences in front of me while butterflies flitted past. I found my own plot was quite weedy in the short space of time I had neglected it. In fact, it was so weedy that only after pulling out a bunch of weeds did I realize a flame-colored calla lily was blooming. Here’s a rundown of what is working and what isn’t, if this helps anyone with future gardening attempts:

Seeds: Pumpkin, oregano, and chives never even sprouted. Squash is too small to produce anything yet. Radishes were incredible but are all done now, so I just planted turnip seeds in their place. Carrots and beets look happy, but I can’t tell if they are ready for harvest yet. Swiss chard and two kinds of lettuce have been productive. Corn and green beans are going nuts but aren’t ready for harvest. The pepper plants I started inside are like bonsai plants; they are very happy, but very small. I can’t see them producing peppers any time soon. I do have a zucchini that may be ready to harvest.

Starter plants: Eggplants and tomatoes are hopeless. Broccoli and Brussel sprouts are very happy but haven’t produced anything yet. Last night I got a ton of ground cherries and several strawberries, and there appears to be a new baby ground cherry plant. I have gotten so much kale from my two kale plants! The collard and cauliflower are still too small to say how they will do, but to be fair I planted them later in the season. The onions I got from Rich’s garden do not seem as happy in my plot. So far I have had one patty pan squash, and another looks close to ready. There are a couple of spaghetti squashes not quite ready for harvest yet.

House plants: The black and white calla lilies are done blooming. The flame one just started. The pineapple lily has never sprouted, but maybe the bulb was dead. The plant that was some unusual kind of amaryllis apparently rotted because of all the rain, but the two regular amaryllis have leaves and appear happy. Hopefully nobody complains about my planting houseplants in my plot…

Famous Hat

Monday, July 22, 2019

Jimmy Buffett and Milwaukee

I hope my readers had a good weekend. I have already blogged about our fun Friday night, and most of Saturday we were very lazy. We drove to Elkhorn and ate at a drive-in that listed “tacos” on the menu as $1.99 but “mini tacos” as $3.69. Not sure how that makes sense… Then we drove to Alpine Valley to see Jimmy Buffett. Good thing we got there about an hour early, since we had no problems getting our rental chairs and finding a good spot on the hill. Apparently they oversold the concert, and some people couldn’t get in but had to stand way back in the parking area. Jimmy himself was great, very energetic despite his age and doing everything I wanted to hear (although I was unfortunately powdering my nose for the first half of “Pencil Thin Mustache”). He did his two liveliest numbers, “Volcano” and “Fruitcakes,” back to back, and had beautiful shots of the South Pacific as the background to his most spiritual song, “One Particular Harbor.” Getting out of the parking lot (which is all grass, causing some people to get stuck) was a two-hour adventure, and we didn’t get to bed until 3 am. We did get a beach towel to cover our rental chairs, which had been left out in the storm earlier that day, and we ended up with a tiny beach ball someone sent our way after the concert was over. There were lots of beach balls and inflatable sharks being tossed around during the concert, and when I saw everyone, I thought, “I have found my people!” – they were all wearing Hawaiian shirts.

Yesterday we went to a later Mass and then had brunch at the Manna CafĂ©. We headed to Milwaukee so Travalon could show me some cool things he discovered a couple of weekends ago when he went there while I was busy with the Early Music Festival. We walked down to a beach with big rocks you can sit on, enjoying the breeze and the view of sailboats out on the lake, then we went to the Oriental Theater, which is beautiful inside, to see The Last Black Man in San Francisco. It is a sort of slow-paced, slice-of-life movie about two black guys who move into an empty old Victorian house that one of them used to live in, with a timely message about gentrification. It’s happening to us on a smaller scale in Madtown with all these well-paid people moving in who work for the healthcare software company south of town. After the movie we went to a coffee shop with plants hanging from the ceiling for horchata-flavored cold brew coffee, then we tried some different things at the nearby food court: pasta, falafel, French fries, and brownies. We sat outside, enjoying the reasonable temperature after the furnace of the previous week. When we got home, I just collapsed into bed, being sleep-deprived from our late night on Saturday. I must have caught up – I popped out of bed before my alarm this morning.

Famous Hat

Saturday, July 20, 2019

Teal Beer

Thursday after work Travalon and I went to the "rooftop music" event the University has every third Thursday in the summer. I have been on the rooftop many times myself, but every time Travalon has gone, they hold it inside for various reasons - this time it was due to extreme heat. The band was All That Jazz, and they were really good! They didn't know my requests of "The Ramble" and "Topsy" (guess my taste in jazz is too old and obscure), but they did play Travalon's requests of "Summertime" and the John Coltrane version of "My Favorite Things." Their last song was "Fly Me to the Moon," which as many of my readers may remember was the first dance at our wedding, so we danced to it. We love those old standards!

Here are some photos from my noontime walk on Thursday down to the Allen Centennial Gardens. First, a lavender hibiscus! How often do you see something like that?

I just love this bright red flower, but I can't remember what it's called.

The koi think I am going to feed them! When I looked at them, they all swarmed toward me.

Sorry that this isn't such a good photo, but it's a red water lily! They have also had magenta and lavender ones, but most of them are either white or yellow.

I also took a picture of a magenta-flowering magnolia that is still blooming at this late date, which amazes me, but the photo didn't really turn out. You can barely see the flowers.

My succulent with the bright pink flowers is blooming even more. The leaves are very cool too - that's the reason I bought it, I had no idea it would have such pretty flowers. I'll try to post a photo of the leaves sometime.

Then last night Travalon and I had a quiet evening at home in the air conditioning, since ours still worked. (There was an explosion at the power plant - it was on national news! - and 13,000 people in town had no power on the hottest day of the year. My bus buddy saw the explosion out her office window! I saw the thick black smoke afterwards. Amazingly, nobody was injured.) Travalon made catfish for dinner, then we thought maybe we should go out for a quick drink at Mariner's, since we can walk there. Travalon reminded me that there was a teal beer at Octopi Brewing that he thought I might like, since it is a raspberry sour, so we went there instead. On the way we saw this stunning sunset with fascinating lines... fading contrails? Those same lines were in the sunset the night before too.

Here is my teal beer! It is as tasty as it is beautiful. And I love the Octopi logo on the glass, of an O made with an octopus tentacle.

Good thing I tried that beer because they are down to their last keg! They think it will be tapped out today. There might be some still for sale in cans at Woodman's... For my second beer, I had a sour made with Tabasco sauce, lime, and salt. It was really tasty too, if not as photogenic.

As we came home, the heat lightning to the north was so crazy that it looked like the sky was full of strobe lights. What a storm that must have been! I tried to make a video, but it didn't turn out at all, so you will just have to imagine it if you didn't see it.

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 18, 2019

Magic Cube Pyramid Instructions

My "Rubik's Tetrahedron" is actually called a "Magic Cube Pyramid" (by Fanxin), which doesn't seem right since a pyramid has a square base, and of course a cube has six square sides, but my toy has four triangle sides. On the box it notes that "The difficulty:" is three stars out of five, and also this mysterious phrase: "Match Special-purpose." The instructions, which are in Chinese characters that I can't read and English, are even more enlightening:

Angle block on the base block rotate freely, in the reduction process angle block does not play any role, can be neglected.

1. Rotate cube, make the 3 blocks of red face in a plane:

2. Make the red edge block in the plane, this is very easy, try to understand;

3. Cube from another direction, to turn without the red base block into the next diagram;

4. General at this time there are three edge blocks direction or the wrong place, sometimes two. Then you can swap any red-faced edge blocks as the switching point, and dislocation edge blocks, perhaps to swap a few times, you can restore. You can restore.


Famous Hat here again. Doesn't that explain everything?

Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Midsummer Photos 2019

I believe it's time for another pictorial post. First is Travalon's favorite animal at the zoo: the red panda!

This is one of my succulents in bloom. It has a lot more buds, so if it blooms fully, I will take another picture.

Here are some photos from when we saw Banana Wind at the East Side Club: the new, improved tiki bar; a close-up of the neon flamingo now on top of the tiki bar; and the band itself.

The Daughter of Denni pointed out that they have built a new music hall, and soon this one may no longer host concerts, so I took a picture of it before the Participants' Concert at the Early Music Festival to always remember how weird-looking it is. The suspended glass octagons may have something to do with acoustics, or maybe they are just there for aesthetic purposes.

Outside of the current music hall, if you look toward the art museum, you see a lot of pretty lights.

And if you look toward the Union, you might see a lovely sunset.

At the Mallards game, I got Superman ice cream, which is basically vanilla ice cream dyed red, yellow, and blue. For some reason I thought the yellow was lemon, the red was cherry, and the blue was raspberry. However, they made a lovely pattern all swirled together.

This is the Millie of Dragons bobble head, seated on her Iron Throne.

And this is Maynard riding a unicorn that is pooping out a rainbow. Don't they make a perfect pair?

I thought my cycad was dying, but I moved it into the southern-facing window with the succulents, and now it is growing two new leaves. I love how the larger new leaf has curly edges.

Sometimes the harvest from my garden plot is cute! Check out this squash. We ate this tonight, along with lettuce and kale from the garden and corn on the cob from the Ashippun Firemen's Picnic.

And finally, this is a magenta petunia growing in a crack in the sidewalk here in town. Last summer I featured another magenta petunia growing from the curb in Reedsburg. This seems to be a thing around here. Is someone going around planting magenta petunias in strange places, or how are they ending up growing in cracks in cement like weeds?

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 16, 2019

Rubik's Tetrahedron

Yesterday when I went for my lunchtime walk, I went to the Allen Centennial Garden, hoping to see the bald cardinal. It was a very hot day, and not too many people were around, so I had high hopes. Instead, a female cardinal alighted right near me, so I started talking to her: “Hello lady cardinal, are you Baldy’s wife? I was looking for him. Is he around?” She listened, then flew away. Then I realized a person was nearby who might have heard me talking to a bird. Still, it gives me hope that if Baldy the Cardinal can find someone to overlook his flaws, so can we all. I know Travalon overlooks a lot of flaws in me!

Also yesterday, my new toy arrived in the mail. At Anna Banana II’s family cottage, one of the kids was playing with a Rubik’s Cube, and I remembered once having a sort of Rubik’s Tetrahedron that was much easier to solve, with four triangular sides in neon colors. I looked online right then and impulsively purchased one that looked just like my childhood toy. When it came yesterday, I saw with delight that it was exactly as I had remembered, and I immediately scrambled the red, green, blue, and yellow pieces. Then I tried to solve it, but it seemed to be taking forever, so I complained to Travalon that I was not as smart these days… and then I solved it! In like eight minutes. It was worth the $9 to feel smart, but don’t look for me to purchase a Cube. I never was able to solve that one…

Famous Hat

Monday, July 15, 2019

Early Music and a Mallards Game

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine started Thursday night, when Travalon and I went to the East Side Club to see Banana Wind, a Jimmy Buffet cover band. The weather was perfect, and the band was excellent. When the Daughter of Denni had asked what I was doing that night, since there was also an Early Music dance party, I said something she would not approve of. She said, “Something religious?” since she is a devout atheist. I said, “No worse,” and she laughed and couldn’t imagine what that would be, but I happened to know she detests Jimmy Buffet, so I said, “We’re going to see a Jimmy Buffet cover band.” She said, “You’re right – that is worse, but that was a hell of a lead-in.”

Friday I took the day off of work, and Handy Woman gave me a tour of the press’s new home in the university library. Most people were on vacation, so I only got to say hi to a few of my old coworkers. Then she and I met Rich, Tiffy, and the Daughter of Denni for lunch at the food carts on Library Mall. She and Rich had to go back to work, but the rest of us went to the Participant Concert at the Early Music Festival, where various classes show off what they have been working on all week. Afterwards a bunch of us (including Denni himself) hung out on the Union Terrace, then some of us had dinner at a Thai restaurant before the concert, which was a German vocal ensemble called Calmus. They were incredible! And the soprano and tenor had the cutest eight-year-old daughter who joined us in the audience.

Saturday Travalon and I met Tiffy and Rich for coffee at the new place in the old hat shop building, then Tiffy and I joined Denni’s family to see his granddaughter perform at Girls Rock Camp. The girls (between 8-18 years of age) have one week to master instruments and write a song, and her group was the youngest, with a song called “I Wrote This Song.” They were very cute, and she looked like she was having the best time playing keyboards onstage. Some of the older groups wrote surprisingly catchy tunes. Afterwards Tiffy, the Daughter of Denni, and I walked to Fete de Marquette and briefly watched a Cajun band, but it was very hot so we walked to the Avenue Bar for ice cream drinks. We went to Sujeo, a Korean restaurant, for dinner, and then Tiffy and I caught the bus back to campus to see the closing concert of the Early Music Festival, where all the participants perform. I have never seen so many cornettoes on stage at once! They did a lot of Schuetz and Monteverdi, and a different version of Allegri’s Miserere than the one I always hear. The small chorus was in the balcony behind us, so that it did sound as if their voices were coming from heaven. The sound of the huge orchestra and choir is really something amazing to hear, and Tiffy says this is always her favorite concert of the festival.

Yesterday Travalon and I went to Flix Brewpub to see Toy Story 4, a very sophisticated story for a children’s movie. I cried through half of it and laughed at the rest of it. It was so good! We had never been to this movie theater before, and they bring beer and food to your seat. My kiwi sour beer was fine, but Travalon’s honey beer was amazing. One of the regulars at the Early Music Festival, a buddy of Denni’s from college days, has Mallards season tickets and he couldn’t attend the game yesterday, so he gave them to us. We missed the top of the first inning, but good thing, because our Mallards gave up five runs, so who wants to see that? They never caught up and ended up losing 9-5. We aren’t Game of Throne fans (have never actually seen it), so at first we didn’t care about the Minnie of Dragons bobble heads, but the people around us all had them, and they were so cute. After the game we begged for one, and they did give us one. Minnie sitting on the Iron Throne, surrounded by dragons, is a perfect companion for our other Mallards bobble head of Maynard sitting on a unicorn that is pooping out a rainbow. As Travalon can tell you, I am not a huge fan of bobble heads of real people (the one I saw of Davante Adams was terrifying and looked nothing like him), but I find that I do enjoy bobble heads of cute ducks with mythical creatures!

Famous Hat

Thursday, July 11, 2019

Litany of Humility

Yesterday there was another free early music concert, this one at the Lutheran Cathedral of the Midwest. The vocal ensemble was from Milwaukee, and they sang lots of Tallis and Byrd. Kathbert was there too, and afterwards she said the vocal ensemble from Monday’s concert is doing a concert of music about Mary the Rose in December, and wouldn’t the piece set by our OTHER choir director’s friend to my poem about Mary the mystical rose be perfect? She said I should mention it to the director, but I was kind of embarrassed, so she did. My OTHER choir director was at the concert too, so I asked him if he knew whatever became of the piece. He said as far as he knew it was still in the choral library at the church, so I asked the current choir director. He took me down to the choral library and gave me a copy of both “The Mystical Rose” and the Christmas piece the same composer had set to another poem of mine, “This Day When Heaven Descends to Earth.” I gave them to the professor from Eau Claire, who promised he would make copies and give them back to me. I don’t know if anything will come of this – years ago the composer tried to get the pieces published, but at that time nobody was interested. Which is a shame, because I thought they were lovely pieces. Maybe the lyrics are okay too.

Which brings me to the point of this blog post. On our road trip to Dubuque, Anna Banana II and Luxuli said how they had been doing daily prayers for priests, and the Friday prayer was the Litany of Humility. They warned it was pretty hardcore, but since it was Friday, we prayed it. Nobody needs humility more than I do, so I have decided to pray it every Friday myself. In case you would like to pray it, here it is:

Lord Jesus. Meek and humble of heart, Hear me.
From the desire of being esteemed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being loved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being extolled, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being honored, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being praised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being preferred to others, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being consulted, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the desire of being approved, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being humiliated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being despised, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of suffering rebukes, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being calumniated, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being forgotten, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being ridiculed, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being wronged, Deliver me, Jesus.
From the fear of being suspected, Deliver me, Jesus.
That others may be loved more than I, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be esteemed more than I, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That, in the opinion of the world, others may increase and I may decrease, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be chosen and I set aside, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be praised and I unnoticed, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may be preferred to me in everything, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.
That others may become holier than I, provided that I may become as holy as I should, 
Jesus, grant me the grace to desire it.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 10, 2019


Last night at the Early Music Festival they showed the Lon Chaney silent movie The Hunchback of Notre Dame with an early music group playing 14th Century music to accompany it. They did a fantastic job – the music totally fit with the movie, although it was supposed to be set in the 15th century. The leader of the group explained that 14th Century French music was more dramatic, and therefore better suited to accompany a dramatic silent movie. I loved the costumes that the women in the movie wore.

One great thing about my current job is that I finally feel like I have colleagues, in the sense of people who do a similar job. You know how you have people in your life who aren’t exactly friends but are bus buddies, work buddies, etc. These aren’t direct coworkers but people who have a similar job to mine, but in a different department. There are meetings for people with our concerns, so we see a lot of each other. Of course my colleague up in Asian Languages is bordering on becoming an actual friend, since we see so much of each other and are very close in age, and I also am getting reacquainted with someone I knew many years ago from a previous sphere, when we were both active in a Medieval reenactment society. (I always say I was in a Renaissance band, since the music we played was late Renaissance and not Medieval, although after the movie last night, I can’t imagine why. There’s some awesome Medieval French music that doesn’t seem too difficult to play, which was always their excuse.) She was more of a cooker and sewer in the group than a musician herself. Just today there were two work meetings we both attended. And she goes by Famous too, although that is her middle name - she has a more unusual first name. Those are the people I tend to sit with at meetings, but I am getting to know a bunch of my colleagues. Sometime I will blog about the congress and the people I have met there, but that is a post for another day.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, July 9, 2019

Spanish Renaissance Christmas in July

Last night I went to a free concert of Spanish Renaissance Christmas music at the Pres House. I sat with Kathbert, one of the fiddlers from my band, and some other ladies I know from church. The fabulous vocal ensemble is from Eau Claire and is led by a professor at the university there who just got tenure and also just spent a few weeks in his native Hong Kong, attending the protests that are going on there. We all followed his saga on social media, and I’m sure we all breathed a collective sigh of relief when he posted that he was back on the plane to the US! He is much braver than I am – I cannot imagine risking the wrath of the Chinese government! The concert included those crowd pleasers “Riu Riu Chiu” and the Victoria “O Magnum Mysterium,” as well as a modern setting of the text by a Basque composer that nearly caught the mystical import of the words as well as Victoria’s setting. My favorite piece may have been an “ensalada” that starts with singing in Spanish about the birth of Jesus, then goes into a Catalan folksong about a woman who wants a new dress, then another song in Galician, a Sephardic tune, and finally a crowd scene in what the program says is “made-up Portuguese.” The reason it is called a “salad” is precisely because the song changes every few measures, from sacred to rousing. It was so much fun! I even bought a CD of the same concert (with three extra pieces that we didn’t hear last night) with some of my gig money. I guess I play music for (very little) pay in order to support other, better musicians.

Famous Hat

Monday, July 8, 2019

Early Music Weekend

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Saturday Anna Banana II invited Rich, Kathbert, and me over for lunch (Travalon was in Milwaukee for the day), then she and I tried to go to Toy Story 4 but we got there too late so we took a walk at the zoo. The two of us met Tiffy, Rich, OK Cap, and Cali for dinner at Himal Chuli while sitting outside, then Tiffy and I met the Daughter of Denni at the Early Music Festival. My department at work sponsored the concert, which was a joke travelogue of a guy traveling to Germany, Italy, and France, then back to England, with music from the respective countries. It was really good.

Yesterday a bunch of us went to brunch at Plaka, which was fortuitous because they had the women’s soccer championship game on, so we saw Team USA win! Anna Banana II organized a trip to Indian Lake State Park, but by the time I knew the plan, I was sitting on the Union Terrace with Travalon and Tiffy, and the breezes from the lake were so wonderful that I couldn’t tear myself away. The Daughter of Denni joined us, and we walked along the lakeshore path, then we all went to dinner at Ichiban with Rich and the Daughter of Denni’s boyfriend Q. We three ladies (and Q) then went back to the Union Terrace for ice cream before the next concert at the Early Music Festival, a ballet about a girl from New France who is sent to Versailles to learn proper manners and dancing. It was a lot of fun. Tonight there is a FREE concert of Spanish Christmas music to enjoy!

Famous Hat

Friday, July 5, 2019

Rosary Ladies in Dubuque

We did go paddleboating on Wednesday afternoon, on a paddleboat that looked like a giant rubber duckie. First Anna Banana II and I paddled while Luxuli and Jilly Moose sat in the back, then we switched in the middle of Lake Wingra. Afterwards we walked to Infusion Chocolate and had cold Mayan drinking chocolate. There were supposed to be storms at some point, but Concerts on the Square were still happening, so I thought I might join Rich up there. Travalon, meanwhile, was at a Steak Night at Samba with Cecil Markovitch and the Single B-Boy. The storm did come, so the concert was cut short before I got up there, then I somehow acquired most of a blueberry pie, which I promptly forgot in the car of the couple who kindly drove me to the North Transfer Point to get my car so I wouldn't have to wait for the bus in the rain and lightning. I wasn't too excited about Rich biking home in all that lightning, but he got home safe.

Travalon and I took our boat out for the first time on the Fourth of July for a ride back into the marsh. Here is a photo of my favorite captain at the helm:

We have a new lift for the boat, and it's great! Then we drove to Anna Banana II's family cottage on Lake Ripley, where we joined her, various relatives of hers, Jilly Moose, Rich, Luxuli, and OK Cap. It was a strange day weatherwise, very hot and then sometimes it would suddenly start raining for a few minutes, yet the sun was still out... and no rainbow!?! I enjoyed watching the kids playing in the yard as we sat in the shade, gazing at the lake. After a taco dinner, Travalon and I canoed into the sunset. After we drove home, we found a very buggy spot to watch fireworks on the Tenney Park jetty. We could see Shorewood Hills and Waunakee in the distance, and we had a great view of the Maple Bluff display.

Today the Rosary Ladies took a road trip to Dubuque. First we stopped at the Dickeyville Grotto, which is something you should really see at least once in your lifetime. Here is a small part of it:

It was made by a preternaturally energetic priest back in the 1920's from various materials his parishioners brought him, like seashells and ceramic pieces, held together by cement.

We got to Dubuque and had lunch at Catfish Charlie's, on the patio under the tiki umbrellas where it was about 100 degrees out. (There was a wait to eat inside in the air conditioning.) We were overlooking the water, and now and then we caught a cool breeze. This is the restaurant owned by the same people who run the boat ride Travalon and I took during the Memorial Day weekend. We debated about taking a boat ride but decided it was way too hot. One of the women at the next table took our picture: "I get it," she said. "I'm a girl too!"

Then we went to the Fenelon Elevator, which goes straight up the cliff. Yikes! Here is a photo of the two cute cable cars passing each other.

And here we are in the car! I was at the top of the car so that I had people blocking my view of straight down.

Here are a couple of photos of downtown Dubuque from the top of the elevator.

You know me, with my gene (according to 23 and Me) that makes me more prone to a fear of heights than average (clearly my ancestors were sailors and not mountaineers), so I decided to take the stairs back down, thinking the down elevator might be more scary than the up one. Everyone else took the stairs too, except for poor OK Cap, with her broken foot. At the base of the bluff are lots of cute stores, like a fair trade one, and an Irish one I spent too much money at.

Then we drove to the Mines of Spain and checked out the monument to Julien Dubuque. You may remember my previous picture of the little tower over his grave, overlooking the Mississippi.

And here is what is inside of the oversized rook - his actual grave.

We stopped in Mineral Point on the way back and had dinner at the cute brewery which is also a bed and breakfast, where Travalon and I stayed over the Memorial Day weekend. OK Cap wasn't sure how to text us the picture of us inside of the cable car, so I tried to do it and finally succeeded. My attempt to send the short movie of us wasn't as successful. I think the guy didn't realize he was making a movie instead of taking a picture, so it starts with the floor, and then there's a big bump, and then we all laugh as he finally focuses on us. It was very cute and only five seconds long, but OK Cap's phone said I had to shorten it and reduce the quality, so here is like a two-second movie of poor quality showing us laughing. At least it shows how happy we were today.

I didn't take a picture of this, but on the way home we saw the rainbow we expected to see yesterday.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, July 3, 2019

Fireworks Boat Ride and Road Trip to Marytown

Sorry for my silence the last few days, but I have sort of a good excuse: the Rosary Ladies are all together again! Anna Banana II came to town Thursday, and that evening I met her, Jilly Moose, and Richard Bonomo at a place in Hilldale called Forage that makes very healthy salads and rice bowls. They had a "Date Night" special of two entrees, one appetizer, and two adult drinks for $40, so Anna Banana II and I had a "date," although we are both married to other people. Then we all went swimming in the warm pool at our health club.

Friday was very slow at work, so I took the afternoon off and gardened. In the evening Travalon and I went to a birthday party for the married B-Boy, and I mostly entertained his daughter, who is seven. We played a game she made up that I suppose you would call "I Love You More" where we tried to top each other with things like "I love you more than infinity!" and "I love you more than the sun, the moon, and the rainbow!" When I said, "I love you more than all the bubbles in champagne!" then she said, "I love you more than all the beer, the wine, and the brandy!" and her mom said, "Okay, that's enough talking about adult drinks!"

Saturday my band played for two hours at the Farmers' Market at Elver Park, and to my surprise they paid us $20 each. I thought it was a free gig! Our leader didn't bring a tip can, but people started dropping money on the ground in front of us, so I put my hat down (since we were in the shade), and they filled it up so we each got over $4 in tips! Then Travalon and I met Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, Rich, Prairie Man, and OK Cap at Pasqual's for lunch. OK Cap had fallen on the way over, and she said her foot really hurt. It turns out she broke a bone in it! Yikes! It was so hot that Travalon and I hid in the house until we met Hockey Girl to take a pontoon boat ride to see the fireworks. I was a bit scared of taking a three-hour boat ride with no bathroom available, but I was fine. The people sitting beside us were friendly, the sunset was spectacular and so were the fireworks, and then the lights of the city and all the boats around us were so beautiful. The fireworks go off over the Monona Terrace, with the Capitol in the background. One of the coolest things was that tons of people were in kayaks, and they decorated them with Christmas lights so they would be visible in the dark. We all tried to take pictures and then bemoaned that our phones do not take such great nighttime photos, and we had all left our good cameras at home.

Sunday after Mass, Travalon and I went to School Grounds, the coffeehouse in the old schoolhouse, and we sat outside until I could tell a storm was about to hit. We got into the car just before it started and had to drive through quite a thunderstorm. When it cleared up, we ventured out to my garden plot and to the Allen Centennial Gardens, where we saw the bald cardinal from a distance just before another storm blew up. In the evening we went to Rich's house for dinner with Kathbert.

Monday I took off of work and went to Marytown with Anna Banana II, Jilly Moose, and Luxuli. We got there just after we thought Mass was supposed to start, but it was actually an hour later, so we went to the gift shop. I bought a rosary that makes me think of the words to the third verse of "Let All Mortal Flesh Keep Silence," with its faceted beads that shine teal and purple in a sort of celestial sheen, and the Our Father beads that are cherubim. (With sleepless eye?) At Mass the organist played that tune, Picardy, during Communion, and then he ended on a major chord - a Picardy third! When I mentioned it afterwards, he said, "Thanks for noticing!" so he clearly did it on purpose. Ha! Music nerd inside jokes! We went to lunch at an Indian restaurant and then took a three-something mile walk around the lake at Mundelein Seminary. On the way home we went right past Tiffy's town, so I called to see if she wanted to meet us for dinner, but she was way up north.

Yesterday I had to go into work for half a day just for the credit card reconciliation, and then Anna Banana II and Jilly Moose picked me up and we went back to Hilldale for lunch. Forage was very busy, so we went to a place called Bartaco with all kinds of tacos, and that was delicious too. Luxuli joined us to go swimming at Salmo Pond, and it was such a hot day that the cold water felt wonderful. Jilly Moose had brought a big inflatable donut thing decorated with Skittles or something, so we inflated it and tried it out. We picked OK Cap up from work on the way to my church so I could do my usual Tuesday evening Holy Hour, then Travalon and Rich joined us for dinner at the Globe. The owner said a bunch of reviews on Yelp disappeared, including mine! I guess the algorithms think I am a fake reviewer...?

Who knows what adventures await us today? We talked about going paddle boating. So far this morning I have gone to my garden plot and weeded, and I've eaten breakfast: coffee, a banana, lettuce from the garden, radishes from the garden, and kale from the garden. I am starting to feel peckish and think I may have to dig into my leftovers from the Globe soon.

Here are some photos from our recent adventures. First are two shots of the sunset and one of downtown after dark from our boat ride.

My other strawberry plant finally bloomed, and it has pink flowers too! I thought this one was a regular white-flowering variety. So far from the other plant I have eaten two berries and lost two (to humans or other creatures, who knows?), and it has some more ripening. One has a bite out of it!

This is the house in the Allen Centennial Gardens. I believe it used to be the Chancellor's residence once upon a time. Now I'm not sure what happens inside.

Does anyone know what kind of bush this is? I see them all over the place. They have pretty purple leaves and get these fuzzy red pompoms this time of year.

Here are a couple of shots of the inside of the chapel at Marytown. I like the five-foot monstrance and the baldacchino over it that almost looks steampunk to me, the way it is painted to look like an old-fashioned hot air balloon.

The animals were not afraid of us as we hiked around the lake at Mundelein. Here are a deer and a rabbit that we got really close to.

There were some cool monuments on the Mundelein campus. This one is out in the water! We didn't see what it was, because just when we got close to it, a campus security guy told us the place had closed at five, so we headed back to the car.

This is a monument to aborted babies, I think. It has a hand holding the cutout of a baby, to show that the baby is missing.

And finally, a brief movie of the start of the fireworks display we saw from the boat.

Famous Hat