Welcome To My Blog

Weekends are for wandering Wisconsin. That's what Rick, my guy, and I do. Occasionally we wander during the week, too. Sometimes we just drop in on other people's lives.

This blog is my way of sharing where we've been, neat places and things to do that we've found.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Christmas Wanderings

As I was driving back to Madison from Sheboygan on Christmas Eve night I reflected on where we've wandered during the Christmas holiday in the years that Rick and I have been together.

For our first Christmas (1997) we flew to California in the afternoon, landing in Los Angeles the wee hours of the 26th. We rented a car and drove up the coast to San Francisco stopping to see sights along the way. I recall that our most expensive overnight was in Big Sur and our room there had the least amount of amenities – no phone, no TV, and a bad radio!  

The following year we were in New Orleans. We attended midnight mass at the St. Louis Cathedral, the oldest Catholic cathedral in continual use in the United States. Prior to the service we enjoyed traditional carols song by the choir. I remember the temperature being a little nippy while we were standing in line waiting for the doors to open. It felt like Christmas yet we didn’t have to concern ourselves with snow.

One Christmas was spent in Toledo OH with Rick’s son, Jon, and daughter-in-law, Kari. She was finishing her residency at one of the hospitals there and we drove out to see them. I don’t recall any storms either going or coming back home.

A few years ago we spent Christmas in Sheldon, my hometown. My mother was still alive but my father has already passed away. I’m thinking it had to be a white Christmas since it was northern Wisconsin. However, latitude doesn’t guarantee that the ground will be covered with snow at Christmastime. It’s not this year.

In 2005, we were welcomed to St. Charles IL where Rick’s son’s in-laws and their extended family celebrated the holiday. We still tease Winnie, Jon’s mother-in-law, about how she roasted the oven mitt that year instead of the turkey!
Notice that TWO cans of whipped cream AND ice cream were needed 
to satisfy this crowd during the dessert round!
There was at least one Christmas in Madison during our years together. A friend invited us for a get-together on Christmas Eve and then we attended the 11:00 candlelight service at Immanuel Lutheran Church. It was snowing gently when the service ended.

Most of our Christmases have been spent with Rick’s family. Two of his sisters have hosted for a number of years and his family likes to have a theme for the celebration.
One year the theme was "The 60s." I'm not so sure that Rick's car
shirt was something he would have worn during that time. However,
my earrings and necklace were definitely part of my wardrobe back then.
It’s terrific that the second cousins in the family (Rick’s and his sisters’ grandchildren) have a chance to get to know each other during these family occasions.

This year Rick’s grandson, Kellen,  who is almost 20 months old was the hit of Christmas Eve. His language is understandable and he’ll imitate anything you say. He was in seventh heaven with a houseful of “new” playmates to keep him entertained. And we were delighted with the entertainment he provided!

A man travels the world over in search of what he needs, and returns home to find it. 
~George Moore

Monday, December 19, 2011

Music on Stage

Two Saturdays ago, we saw Guys on Ice at the Overture Center in Madison. It's a production of the American Folklore Theater out of Door County. We had seen two previous AFT shows and had heard good things about this one. We weren't disappointed. Marvin and Lloyd, the two main characters of the musical, shared their philosophy of life with us in comedy and song. Since I've never been ice fishing, I can only assume that these guys are typical of ice fishermen everywhere. Or, at least Wisconsin ice fishermen, in particular, with all the references to the Green Bay Packers. (Side note: too bad about Sunday's loss!)
This past Saturday we were entertained by more music and song at the Shauer Arts & Activities Center in Hartford where we were treated to a Blue Canvas Christmas Tour. The Blue Canvas Orchestra is made up of the house musicians of the Big Top Chautauqua out of Washburn WI. What we especially enjoyed about this concert was that the band didn't perform typical Christmas carols that one can hear on at least one radio station per market that has been playing them since practically after Halloween! For an encore number, the band invited the audience to sing along to Silent Night. Afterward several of the members of the band told us that this audience was one of the best on the tour in terms of singing along. 

We are fortunate that we have such talented musicians, singers, and actors here in Wisconsin who travel around the state delighting young and old alike with their brand of regional lore, humor, and original music.  

Check out both of these groups for their performance schedules next summer. We plan to wander to their home stages once again when the 2012 camping season commences. 

Friday, December 09, 2011

Holiday Lights

Lots of lights around Wisconsin this time of the year. And that’s a good thing as we approach the shortest day of the year in less than two weeks.

Here’s a sampling of the NECA IBEW Holiday Fantasy in Lights at Olin-Turville Park in Madison. The displays are lit from dusk until dawn now until New Year’s Day.

In the Milwaukee area, the light display at the Washington County Fair Park near West Bend should not be missed. The lights are on for limited hours until December 29.

Richfield (also in Washington County) had its Christmas in Richfield celebration last weekend including the lighting of the tree at the village hall. 
And finally, there’s the splendid Christmas tree (not a "holiday tree" this year) in the rotunda of our beautiful state capitol.
Children in private schools throughout Wisconsin made ornaments
for the tree. Many of those children came from parochial schools.
Maybe that's one of the reasons our Governor declared it to be a Christmas tree!
I will love the light for it shows me the way, yet I will endure the darkness because it shows me the stars. —Og Mandino