Friday, August 30, 2019

Late Summer Sunsets (and Other Photos)

Tonight Travalon and I had dinner at Mariner's, facing the sunset. I took a picture of the sunset with a tiki torch in front of it, but it didn't really turn out. Anyway, here are some photos and a video from our most recent adventures, including some sunset pictures that did turn out.

Whenever I go for a walk in the garden near work, the koi think I am going to feed them, and they swim over as fast as they can and congregate in front of me.

Here is a photo from the Union Terrace.

These are the colorful donuts from the book signing party.

This ear of corn with three leaves growing out of it is in a plot right near mine.

Here are some sadder photos, some of the last that might be taken of Travalon's childhood parish, St. Mary's of Pewaukee. First is the inside, then the front, and then the side.

Here are a couple of shots I took of the sunset we saw from Liliana's on Tuesday. Travalon liked the first one the best, and I liked the second one the best.

This pink water lily is not in the Allen Centennial Garden pond but the Botany Department pond.

Last night we went out on the dock and watched the sunset, and we saw this lone little water bird. At first I thought it was a very little duck, but it dove under the water, and it actually looked more like a tiny grebe. Maybe it was a coot...? But I never see those by themselves.

And here are two shots I took three seconds apart of the sunset that evening. Funny how one shot is golden and the other one is purple.

Here are some pretty flowers blooming outside my office building. Lots of cock's comb, which my colleague tells me is the same in Chinese. I mean, the name in Chinese is whatever is the Mandarin words for a rooster's comb.

And finally, here is a little bit of the second half of the song "Method of Modern Love" performed by Hall and Oates. The song seems to have two distinct halves, and I absolutely love the second half.

Famous Hat

Thursday, August 29, 2019

Finding My "Mamacita"

I forgot to mention one thing about our visit to the lake house on Monday: Travalon’s buddy’s uncle is in the hospital, but when the family went to visit him, the staff had trouble locating him. He had come in by helicopter without any ID on him, and this hospital assigns people like that the default name “[herb] Doe” so that this guy was still under the name Thyme Doe. They were surprised about this, and then one of them (the buddy’s mom?) said, “What if they had assigned him the herb Dill?” So this system doesn’t seem that well thought out, unless they avoid that particular herb…

As my regular readers know, about six years ago I learned that I have Sub-Saharan African on my mother’s side, and more recently the website has refined it to being from Nigeria. This explains why Ma Hat could trace the family tree to men on the plantation, but not their wives. I had created a rudimentary family tree on the website, and just today I got an email that they had found a match for me. Someone had created a family tree that even includes me, although they think I am two days younger than I actually am. But what really fascinated me is how far this genealogy went back. There was a woman, we’ll call her “Lucinda,” who is my great-great-grandmother, and I remember years ago seeing a photo of her and thinking, “She has incredibly dark eyes for someone of British heritage!” Lucinda was descended from the people who lived on this plantation, so I was excited to see ancestors beyond her. There was a point where the women trailed off, but were any of these people slaves? I am so fascinated. I sent a message to the woman who created this family tree – we’ll see if she has any insights! I’d love to find the woman who came over in chains from Nigeria! True confession: in Cuba I bought a tiny black doll dressed in traditional West African clothes, and I call her “Mamacita.” She represents this mysterious ancestor of mine, since I don’t know anything about her. But Mamacita was a real person, and I suddenly feel closer to knowing who she really was.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 28, 2019

Gender Balance in Spirituality

Hey readers, did you ever know someone who was never there for you? The person who made it abundantly clear you could never count on them for support? And then they wanted you to care about what happens in their life when the going gets rough for them? What is the proper way to handle such a person? My go-to solution is the Silent Treatment rather than reminding them how little they have cared about me ever, but this can’t be an uncommon problem so I’d be curious to know how other people handle it.

One issue I have noticed in religious debates is the Masculine versus the Feminine. For example, it never really bothered me that the Christian Trinity is God the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit because I know God encompasses both masculine and feminine, and we have to refer to Him somehow so for whatever reason masculine became the default. This does not preclude the feminine. Liturgies that lift the mind to celestial things go beyond this debate, but lately there seems to be a lot of hyper-masculinity in Christianity, and it is starting to drive me crazy. In the past I always liked a balance, but now I feel myself being drawn to a more feminine spirituality to counteract the toxic masculinity. Neither machismo nor touchy-feely spirituality is really what we are called to, but lately I am drifting toward a nature-centered, fertility-driven, peace-loving, earthy spirituality to counterbalance all this “Church Militant,” androcentric stuff. I think this is something both sides have to be very careful about, maybe especially men because they always think what they prefer is the default rather than their own preferences. If they are not careful, they will drive away a lot of women, and when you’ve lost the women, you’ve lost the religion because nobody is passing it on to the next generation. As the ancient Hebrews correctly ascertained, you are the religion of your mother. So let me make this plea to keep Christianity well-balanced from a gender perspective, because frankly you are losing me right now.

Famous Hat

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Sailing and Kayaking and Hall and Oates

I hope that my readers had a good weekend. Sorry for my silence, but Thursday evening Travalon and I were on the Union Terrace until late in the evening, and Friday we had dinner at the Nau-Ti-Gal, so there wasn’t time to blog either day.

Saturday Travalon and I met Richard Bonomo and OK Cap for coffee, then they both came over to our house, Rich to help with plumbing issues and OK Cap to pray the rosary. OK Cap and I went to a book release party at the Dream Bank, and Travalon met us there. The book was about fighting "adultitis," so there were fun crafts and toys and brightly-colored donuts with sprinkles. It had been a strange day weather-wise, but later in the afternoon it got nicer so Travalon and I went to my garden plot and took a hike on Governor’s Island. Then we went to evening Mass at the church near our house before going to watch the Madison Forward play against the Richmond Kickers again. This time they beat them 1-0. Revenge is sweet!

The reason we went to Mass on Saturday was so that Sunday we could go to Travalon’s hometown of Pewaukee and attend the last-ever service at his childhood church, Historic St. Mary’s. The school closed three years ago, so the church has been rented out to a non-denominational church that has taken good care of the 150-year-old building. Sadly, the merged parish that owns the building wants to sell it to a developer to build high-priced senior housing, and they plan to tear it down next Sunday. I was extremely angry about this, but the pastor at the service we attended gave a sermon about how we can be like drinking fountains: bursting out all over everything, barely putting forth any effort, or producing a good stream. I thought yeah, I shouldn’t be that first drinking fountain, and then the Holy Spirit gave me the idea to bombard the merged parish’s email with scriptural quotes showing how evil they are being, like “Mene Mene Tekel Parsin.” (One of the creepiest stories in the Bible.) Will this work? Who knows? Today I sent them yet another message, but so far they haven’t responded. And I don’t really need them to – I just need them to change their evil ways. Then Travalon and I had lunch at Seesters, a Mexican restaurant on the shores of Pewaukee Lake, and then we drove to Oconomowoc and hung out with his mom on the shores of Lake LaBelle. Best of all, when we got back into town, our neighbor took us sailing on Lake Mendota, and it was a windy day so we really got some speed. When we were returning in the channel, where it is more sheltered, and the jib sail was down, our neighbor had me take the rudder and I really felt like I was in Heaven, steering the calmly sailing boat between the sylvan shores. Which is funny, because I also feel like I am in Heaven when I go to my garden plot, so is Heaven like both of those things? Like neither of them? Who knows? In the evening we returned to Breese Stevens Field, this time to see Hall and Oates perform. We knew every song they did except one that sounded like Steely Dan. Which of course meant it was great.

Yesterday Travalon had the day off of work, so I took it off too. Of course it was the one rainy day in the forecast, but that made it wonderful for sleeping in! Then we drove to the lake house his college buddy is renting on the shores of Waubeesee Lake. It was too drizzly out to have lunch on the patio overlooking the lake, but we sat in the screened-in porch overlooking the lake and played a card game we had never played before with this guy’s mom and stepdad, who barely beat me. When the rain let up a little, we went kayaking, but of course I fell in while trying to get into my kayak. We paddled around an island and into an inlet, then after our clothes had dried (Travalon got wet too), we went to a Mexican restaurant for dinner. Despite the weather, it was a fabulous day off!

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 21, 2019

Spectacular Sunset

Today after work I went to the usual temporary bus stop to catch the bus home, and it struck me as odd that nobody else was waiting for the bus, but then my attention was caught by a hawk soaring in place - I don't remember ever seeing that before. It soared over to another spot and then resumed soaring in place, and some little birds flew at it like they were trying to chase it away. Then another person came to wait, so I felt a little better until suddenly realizing the temporary bus stop sign was gone. Just then a third person came and said the bus stop had been moved to the original spot, so I ran down the hill just in time to see my bus pulling away. I decided to walk to another bus stop further down the line, since there was a 15-minute wait for the next bus, but just as I got two stops down, the 27 bus arrived so I took it. Now my usual bus, the 28, goes straight from campus to the North Transfer Point, but the 27 really meanders. Still, it only got me to the North Transfer Point ten minutes after the 28 would have.

After dinner, Travalon and I went to my garden plot and weeded for twenty minutes, then we came home and played tennis for twenty minutes, until I noticed how beautiful the sunset looked through the trees. We went out on the dock and enjoyed the truly stunning sunset, then we went to Mariner's for ice cream drinks, and the proprietor concurred that it was perhaps the best sunset of the summer. Of course I have pictures.

First is my orange calla lily - now it has three blossoms!

Next are some photos from our tubing adventure on Sunday. Here the boys set off down the river.

Travalon's college buddy, the one who got married in Hawaii, wanted a picture in front of the big pile of tubes at the tubing place, so I obliged.

Then they said Cali and I should have our picture taken in front of the tubes, even though we hiked.

I finally got a picture of the bald cardinal, but it didn't really turn out. He is sitting on the end of this bench.

Here is the sunset from Monday evening. It was better from the boat, but it was still going when we returned to the dock so I took a picture of it.

And finally, tonight's sunset. It really is amazing how I can be impressed by these things when they are a nightly event, but I never get enough of them. First is a shot of a blooming bush contrasted against the pink sky as we went out to the dock, and the second photo is the full-on sunset.

See what I mean? We just sat watching it for twenty minutes, since tonight twenty minutes seemed to be our thing. That's why we got ice cream drinks - after twenty minutes of gardening and twenty minutes of singles tennis, my diet app said we had burned more than enough calories to have one!

Famous Hat

Tuesday, August 20, 2019

Sunset from the Boat

Last night Travalon and I went for a boat ride back into the marsh, and it was so beautiful in the golden evening light, full of blooming lotuses and those tiny dragonflies I have heard called damselflies. Tons of them landed on me. Lots of swallows were darting around overhead, and I saw one that looked like it was being chased by a big dragonfly, but I think they just happened to be flying the same direction. We also saw a majestic blue heron that made a very loud, strange sound like a strangled dog. Suddenly the boat's motor stopped because it was clogged with weeds; Travalon pulled the weeds off the rotors, but the motor refused to start. We paddled for twenty minutes, which is a good workout and burns quite a few calories per my diet app, and then the motor cooperatively started up again so we went out into the lake. The downtown looked so beautiful with the setting sun reflecting off the buildings – a few of them looked like they were golden, or even on fire. The water had pink and golden swirls reflected from the sunset. I know there is a sunset every day, but I still never get over how beautiful they are. And seeing them from the water is the best way to appreciate them!

Famous Hat

Monday, August 19, 2019

Attacked by Creatures in the Water!

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Mine started on Friday evening, when Travalon and I went to the Monona Terrace to dance on the roof to a salsa band. Then we had a late fish dinner on the patio at Waypoint – walleye, yum! And I had a delicious sour cherry beer from Belgium.

Saturday morning Travalon and I did two of the three volunteer hours required by the gardens, then we drove to Palmyra to swim at their wonderful beach. While I was floating on the inflatable raft, a fish tried to pull my finger off, which was more shocking than painful. I screamed, and Travalon wondered what was wrong. After that I got off the raft and swam, figuring the fish could see I was bigger than they were if all of me was in the water, as opposed to a dangling digit they must have mistaken for a worm. I had thought Palmyra was the location of a rest stop I remembered on a fundraising bike tour I had been on two decades earlier, but it didn’t look anything like I remembered, so Travalon and I drove around to Waterville and Delafield trying to find this place. Finally we went to Oconomowoc to visit his mother, and it suddenly occurred to me that the lovely beach I remembered from that long-ago bike ride was probably the same one I was so familiar with from attending concerts with Travalon and his mother. We were unable to take his mother to the beach that evening, but we took her across the street in the skyway to go sit by the side of the lake. We saw a pontoon boat with a giant inflatable birthday cake on it. It was such a beautiful evening. When we got back to Madison, Travalon and I went to Africa Fest for a very late but tasty dinner of peanut chicken stew, and I bought a couple of pairs of earrings. Then we went to Mother Fool’s for a very late latte; I had a decaf one, but Travalon says he has no trouble sleeping after drinking coffee, so he had a full-strength mocha.

Yesterday I overslept and had no voice, so we went to Mass at Westport. Then we met Cali and Travalon’s old college buddy in Albany for cheeseburgers before tubing. The Center Tavern was full of people, which seemed odd considering how beautiful it was outside. Travalon said there was one woman who was there when we first got there, and as we were leaving town hours later, he saw her emerge from the tavern to smoke a cigarette. Imagine spending your whole beautiful Sunday afternoon in a pub! Cali and I decided to hike instead of tubing, partly to get some exercise and partly to leave the guys alone to reminisce, and we hiked for six miles on the verdant Sugar River Trail, praying the rosary in a mix of English and Spanish. Travalon and his buddy were tubing happily down the river when some other people asked his buddy if he wanted a beer. They tossed it to him but didn’t throw it quite far enough, so he dove off his tube to rescue it. He thought the river was only knee-deep, but it was over his head, and he is well over six feet tall! He did manage to rescue the beer (a Coors Lite – was it even worth it??) but couldn’t get back onto his tube, so he tried to swim over to the shore with the beer in one hand and the tube in the other. Just as he approached the shore, he startled a muskrat that swam right toward him, veered off, and ran into Travalon’s tube. That shocked the bejeebers out of both of them! After that adventure, the four of us drove to New Glarus and had a wonderful dinner with delightful conversation at a Swiss restaurant. What a fantastic day! 

Famous Hat

Thursday, August 15, 2019

Photos from Lake Wisconsin and Other Adventures

The bad news is that the Mallards fell 3-2 to the Traverse City Pit Spitters, so their season is over, one game away from the championship. The good news is that the concert at the Pyle Center was actually on the rooftop tonight, so Travalon got to see the lovely view. We saw Handy Woman there too.

Here are some pictures from our recent adventures. First, a bunch of sunsets. This first one is the one we saw from our boat one evening.

Here are a couple shots of the sunset we saw on the $5 pontoon boat ride.

And this is the sunset we saw from the Merrimac Ferry.

Here is my orchid with all the buds opened.

We saw this sign in the Third Ward in Milwaukee. I come from a long line of Cubs fans and can't endorse the sentiment, but it is kind of funny. (This must have been a response to the Cubs sweeping the Brewers.)

Here are a couple shots of the amazing views from the building where I had a meeting last week.

This is a shot of Luxuli, OK Cap, me, and Travalon at a Mallards game.

Next are some photos from our cruise on Lake Wisconsin. I had never seen the Merrimac Ferry from the side before!

Travalon is living his best life.

Here we are in front of the island in the bay on Lake Wisconsin.

Here are two pictures of Pauquette Park in Poynette. This one shows the bridges and fountain.

This one shows the gazebo.

This photo kind of shows the sand bars and hills that are part of the landscape of Lake Wisconsin.

Someone made a sand Dalek on this beach on Lake Wisconsin.

At the end of that wonderful day, we saw a rainbow!

When you see it... These bins are for Custodial Operations.

I love that they're black too, like those Black Opps helicopters the conspiracy theorists talk about. Or should that be Black Oops helicopters...?

My orange calla lily has two flowers now. Hopefully the deer doesn't eat them again!

Here is a photo of Travalon and me at the Mallards playoff game.

And here we are on the roof of the Pyle Center.

This is the view from the Pyle Center roof.

Then we went to the co-op to pick up some groceries, and we brought home a new friend. She doesn't have a name yet, but she was made by abused women trying to get back onto their feet.

Finally, here are videos of Heatwave singing "Boogie Nights" and "Groove Line" at Dane Dance.

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 14, 2019

Mallards Playoff Game

Last night Travalon and I went to the Mallards playoff game. It was the second in a best-of-three series, and they had already beaten the Rafters in Wisconsin Rapids on Monday night. We were pleasantly surprised to hear it, since the Rafters had beaten the Mallards in the two times we had seen them play at the Duck Pond this season, once quite decisively. However, this gave us great hope for the game last night, and we were not disappointed. Our seats were the best I’d ever had at the Duck Pond, in the front row right behind home plate, and at one point I would have had a foul ball smash right into my forehead if there hadn’t been a net to intervene – as it was, it came really close to me before I even had time to react. At first there was a very strange person sitting next to us who kept saying random things to nobody in particular, but a very cool couple came and evicted him from their seats, and they told us that he had also been sitting in their seats at another game, even though the seats were in a totally different section. How bizarre is that? Though, to be fair, these two go to a lot of games and have acquired both a game ball and one of those giant beach balls, goals I have not met in all my years of going to the Duck Pond.

The game itself was very satisfying, with the Mallards scoring some runs here and there during the first few innings and keeping the Rafters from scoring at all. Just after I had lamented to our neighbors that we had not yet seen a home run this season from our Mallards, one of them started the bottom of the sixth by sending one right over the fence. Then another guy got a home run! Unfortunately they were both solo home runs, but that’s still two more runs and always exciting. Sure I’d love to see a grand slam someday, but that is something I have never seen from the Mallards in all the years I’ve been watching them, although I’ve seen them load the bases many, many times. The Mallards pitching was quite stellar last night, and in the end they beat the Rafters 6-0 to win the series. Tonight they are off to Traverse City to play the Pit Spitters, whose logo is two cherries spitting out baseballs. If they win that, it is not outside the realm of possibility that the championship game will be at the Duck Pond on Friday. If that happens, I hope everyone understands that Travalon and I will have plans that night. Salsa bands on the roof of the Monona Terrace must take a back seat to championship games for the Mallards!

Famous Hat

Monday, August 12, 2019

Lake Wisconsin Adventure

I hope my readers had a good weekend. Friday evening Travalon and I met at the Union Terrace to listen to the Cajun Strangers, then we went to the Dane Dance on the roof of the Monona Terrace. I wasn’t sure what sort of music the main act was playing, but it was a famous band – Heatwave! Remember them from the disco era? They had huge hits with “Boogie Nights” and “Groove Line,” and they did both songs, and some other stuff, while volunteers handed out glow sticks. It was so much fun to dance to all that disco music while everyone had different color glow sticks - mine was green and Travalon's was blue.

Saturday the Rosary Ladies got together for coffee and the rosary, then Travalon and I took the atlas and an adventurous spirit and left to find where the Yahara River joins the Rock River. First we went to a beach called Troll Beach in Stoughton that he was supposed to go to for work the day before, but one of the kids on his van was misbehaving, so they were late and the bus had left without him. We didn’t have swimsuits with us, but we will have to go back. I think the thing that most predicts how well a romantic relationship works out is if both people have similar levels of curiosity, and Travalon and I are both extremely curious, so we enjoyed following the Yahara down to the Rock River and then checking out a lake we saw on the atlas called Gibbs Lake. Since we didn’t have swimsuits, we hiked along the shore, but we will definitely be back to swim! Then we returned to Madison to watch the Forward play the Richmond soccer team; they lost by one point, but we still had a great “flocking” time. (Their symbol is a flamingo.) Afterwards we went to the Avenue Bar for ice cream drinks.

Yesterday was the most fun of all. Right after Mass we drove to the Moon Valley Resort in Merrimac to take a boat cruise on Lake Wisconsin. It was somewhat like a Betty Lou Cruise, on a big boat that could hold maybe thirty people. We had a picnic lunch while enjoying the beautiful scenery; Lake Wisconsin is surrounded by hills that almost look like little mountains, and in one bay there was a sizeable island where people apparently camp. We also saw the Merrimac Ferry going back and forth in front of us. Afterwards the skipper asked if we were going to explore the area further, and we decided to try driving around the lake. This seemed easy enough when we consulted the atlas, since you could follow Highway U up and Highway V back down, but Highway U was closed partway up so we had to take an alternate route that was further from the river. We stopped in Portage at a beautiful park with a fountain and a gazebo, then we followed V down and stopped at Hooker’s Resort (which is for sale) for a root beer overlooking the Wisconsin River. I hope whoever buys it keeps it just the way it is. It is so beautiful – what a shame if they tore it down to build condos or something. We tried to go to St. Lawrence Bluff, but the “park” consists of a sign stating the park hours in front of some woods: no parking lot, no hiking trails, nothing. I googled it and found this is exactly right; the park amenities are as follows: “sign stating hours.” It is just a piece of wilderness designated as a park, and you can walk in it if you want, but there are no trails so you would be bushwacking. We continued to follow Highway V, and we had dinner at a place called Fishtails along the side of the bay with the island in it. The previous weekend when we had gone swimming with Tiffy at Crystal Lake, we tried to show her the road around the lake, but it was shut down due to flooding, so we took a right turn and discovered another lake. Travalon wanted to hike alongside this lake, so we went there and found the hiking trail was flooded. Two guys who were fishing told us it was called Fish Lake, and there was a third one called Mud Lake, but the road to it was flooded. We followed their directions and found the third lake with the flooded road. Then we tried coming at it from the south, but the road that way was flooded too. We will have to go back when all this flooding recedes… 

Since we felt like the one thing the day had lacked was exercise, once we got home we played tennis, or more accurately we hit the ball over the net, or at least tried to. It was getting darker, and some bats were flying around, so I was a little bit afraid we might hit one. Travalon said last serve, and when I hit the ball back toward him, two bats gathered around it in the air like they were curious puppies, one struck it, and they both flew off quickly. I have never seen that before! Travalon said that was definitely a sign that we should quit playing! Who needs bats interfering in your tennis game when your game is already so lousy?

Famous Hat

Friday, August 9, 2019

Your Heaven vs. My Heaven

Yesterday I had a meeting right after work, so Travalon went to the gardens to get us a margarita pizza. After dinner we debated about playing tennis, but I had walked a lot that day and was very tired, so instead we took a boat ride. As we passed by, we heard a band playing at the Nau-Ti-Gal, all women but the drummer, and they sang in beautiful harmony. We saw another glorious sunset lighting up the lake, and we returned just as darkness fell.

Someone I know says Heaven is an eternal Mass, and I told her that would not be a selling point for most people, who can barely stand a one-hour Mass. She said, “What could be more wonderful than being in the Presence of God in the Sacrament?” or something along those lines, but a lot of people say they actually feel closer to God in nature than during church services. Then I started to think about it, and everything in a church is created by people. The stained glass may be gorgeous, and the music may be moving, but many people are more drawn to things actually created by God. Maybe that is why I feel more like I am in Heaven going to my garden plot in the evening, when it is full of birds and butterflies and flowers and laughing children, than going to church. After all, God created all those things at the gardens, but people made the stuff in the church.

Who can really say what Heaven will be like? Mark Twain once wrote a snarky short story about an angel mocking people who say Heaven will be sitting around and playing harps, since they don’t even like harp music in real life, so why would they like it in Heaven? This angel said Heaven was actually one long orgasm, but in his sarcasm Twain stumbled onto something closer to the truth, since a lot of highly-regarded theologians agree that the physical act of lovemaking creates a unity between two people that is a reflection of the unity we will enjoy with God in Heaven. I think you could sell a lot more people on religion if you said Heaven was like unending sex than if you said it was like an unending Mass! But that sums up why our evangelization efforts often fall so flat: we are emphasizing the rules to follow over the joyful relationship with God. You can see where a lot of people would think, “Why do I want to go to a boring church service every week just so I can spend eternity in a boring church service? No thanks, I’ll keep my belief that there is no afterlife/we become part of everything/Heaven is a big party” or whatever the average person believes. They have a point, but I do think Heaven is like a big party AND like becoming one with everything, or at least a lot more like that than like Mass. I certainly hope there is an afterlife, but I can comprehend the idea that there isn’t one way more than the idea that there is one for humans but no other life forms. That idea makes zero sense to me, and it’s probably losing a lot of those other people too. To quote Will Rogers, “If dogs don’t go to Heaven, I want to go where they go.” All these hardcore Catholics who are promoting an idea that we have to follow a bunch of strict rules just to end up in an eternal church service where there are lots of self-righteous people but no plants or animals shouldn’t wonder why their religion is losing adherents. I wouldn’t want to be that religion either, but I don’t think that is really what the Church teaches. Too bad we aren’t emphasizing the joy of knowing God instead of people’s opinions about Heaven.

Famous Hat

Thursday, August 8, 2019

Fan Appreciation Night at the Duck Pond

Last night Travalon, two of the Rosary Ladies, and I went to a Mallards game. It was Fan Appreciation Night, and I was led to believe there would be much free swag and tremendous sales at the team store, but we were not one of the lucky people who got free stuff, and the sales in the store before the game were nothing too exciting. We did each buy a 50/50 raffle ticket, since it was for a good cause, a local day center for the homeless. The game was a blowout: the Mallards kept scoring runs, and the Battle Creek Bombers never even had one run. During the fifth inning Travalon and I went down to get an ear of corn, and at first they said they were all out, but then they said there was one left, so we said we could split it. When the guy handed it to me, he said, “Would you like corn with this?” I was kind of like, “Whuh?” and some people who were sitting in front of us happened to be standing around waiting for funnel cakes, and they laughed. The guy actually meant to ask if we wanted butter, so the other people said to me, “Did he ask if you wanted corn with your butter?” but I said, “It was more like he asked if I wanted corn with my corn!” I said it was kind of like Travalon liking his own like. When we got back to our seats, Luxuli and OK Cap were also just coming back, and we all missed the number for the 50/50 drawing! But then the people sitting behind us, who also bought tickets, said the winning number started with a 39, and all our tickets started with a 95. Then they announced everything in the store would be 25% off, so after the game (which ended quite early for a baseball game), the four of us went down to the store and bought a bunch of stuff. I’m all set for the playoff game next week! But I suppose they will face the Rafters again, and they haven’t beaten them yet this year while we were watching…

Famous Hat

Wednesday, August 7, 2019

Enjoying the Little Things

A couple of weeks ago I was walking through the Allen Centennial Gardens during lunch, as is my wont, when a student asked if I would complete a survey. I said sure and wondered if she knew about the bald cardinal. Well! Not only did she know about him, but she had gossip about him – it seems that he has a mate and a nest with babies, but he has been flirting with another female. Imagine being that self-confident: here is the ugliest cardinal I have ever seen in my life, and he’s a total player! The student asked me what had brought me to the Gardens, and she said, “To see the bald cardinal?” but I told her it was actually to pray the rosary over my lunch break, so she wrote something down quickly – probably just “a walk,” or “lunch break.” She asked me some other questions, like what school district I lived in, and my ethnicity, to which I replied, “Irish, I guess,” and she checked a box. Probably “white,” which is NOT an ethnicity but a race. I somehow doubt there would be a box for “Irish,” although it would be a common enough ethnicity around here. Almost as common as German, which is also my ethnicity but not nearly as much, per that genetic test.

Today I returned to Allen Centennial Gardens for their Wednesday Wellness program, which today was making some scented dough, not for baking but just for kneading. I scented mine with lavender, lemon, and orange, much like the perfume I made during the same program last week. These free diversions are so much fun, but the people who could probably benefit most don’t go to them, just people like me who already know how to enjoy the little things in life. Then I went to a meeting on the top floor of a tall building, and the meeting room had huge windows overlooking the campus and both lakes. I made sure to sit facing the windows! Going to meetings in rooms with beautiful views and making fun floral things are just some of the free perks of working on this campus. College towns are the best!

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Tuesday, August 6, 2019

Forgot to Mention...

Since I haven’t blogged in so many days, today you get a bonus post. I didn’t want to just add it to the original post, since that was already so long. Here are some things I forgot to mention during our adventures the past few days:

When I got to the sailing club, I asked the lady behind the desk if we could use a spinnaker during our ride. She said the boat we would be on doesn’t take a spinnaker, and anyway it was too windy. (It has always been my dream to sail on a boat with its spinnaker up.) I said I was wondering do we tip, and she said, “No, the boat is very stable.” I said, “No, do we tip the captain after the ride?” and she said no. I still feel weird not tipping him… Especially since he was wounded! While we were still tied to the dock, the boom hit him in the nose, and he got a cut on the bridge of his nose that bled profusely. He just put a bandage on it and continued on like nothing had happened, but if that doesn’t merit a tip, what does?

The really funny thing was when I posted something on social media about swimming at Devil’s Lake, and Travalon accidentally put a picture of a metallic thumb’s up as a comment. He was trying to delete it but accidentally liked it, so his big robot thumb’s up had a little thumb’s up because he had liked his own like. I laughed so hard that I couldn’t breathe for a moment, and he said, “It must be time for me to take a break from social media!” He never was able to delete the metallic thumb’s up, but at least he was able to remove the little thumb’s up, so it doesn’t look like he goes around liking his own likes.

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Sailing on Lake Michigan

I hope that my readers had a good weekend. Mine was four days long! Friday I took the day off of work for the Daughter of Denni’s annual bike ride to various pubs, but this year I didn’t ride – instead, Tiffy and I walked. We started in the usual way, in the backyard of the Daughter of Denni with her two Boston terriers and the one she is dogsitting. Then everyone else biked to the Laurel Tavern, but Tiffy and I went next door to Infusion Chocolate to have Mayan drinking chocolate. One person had brought her school-aged son along, and he came with us to the chocolate shop, but he did not really like the strong chocolate. Then Tiffy and I walked to Rockhound to join the others there for lunch. We all went to another person’s backyard for Jell-O shots, and then the itinerary said they were going to O’so, but they decided to skip it for Giant Jones. Tiffy and I went to O’so anyway, since they have delicious sour beers, and then we went to the Dane Dance on the rooftop of the Monona Terrace and danced the night away to disco songs played by V05, a local cover band. What a great day off!

Saturday Tiffy, Travalon, and I had coffee, then we went to the Farmers’ Market, had lunch at a new restaurant on State Street, got bubble tea, and drove to Crystal Lake in Lodi. They have the loveliest beach there, and they have inflatable climbing toys again this year, but totally different than the climbing toys they had last year. Travalon and I tried to climb onto one, but to no avail. The kids had no problems getting on them, of course. After that we went to Fitz’s, a supper club on Lake Wisconsin, for dinner. Because it had started to rain, we couldn’t sit out on their patio overlooking the lake, but the food was still good, and I had the best key lime pie martini ever there.

Sunday Travalon went to visit his mother and brothers, so after Mass Tiffy and I went to Crema CafĂ©, then we were going to go to Olbrich Gardens, but there wasn’t a single parking space available so we just got bubble tea again. When Travalon got back to town, we had to run some errands, then we went out to Devil’s Lake to swim at the beach there. We brought along the tiny beach ball we had gotten at the Jimmy Buffett concert and tossed that around, then we inflated our new rafts and floated on them. They matched the beach ball perfectly, with stripes in the same shades of blue, green, and purple. Then we took the Merrimac Ferry and went back to Fitz’s, where we could sit on the patio and watch the glorious sunset while eating dinner.

Yesterday I took the day off of work and gardened in the morning, then Travalon and I drove to Milwaukee and met Tiffy and another college friend of mine to go sailing on Lake Michigan. That was so amazing! Our captain was really cool too – he is the principal violist in the Milwaukee Symphony Orchestra! We weren’t sure if the weather was going to hold out, but it was glorious and a bit windy, so we really flew along in the harbor. Our captain didn’t take us out beyond the breakwater, maybe because the day was so wild. We had beautiful views of the city skyline. Then we had dinner at the Ale House, sitting on the balcony overlooking the river. It was a wonderful day, except for our drive back to Madison – we got caught in quite a squall! But at least it didn’t happen while we were on the sailboat.

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