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, October 29, 2012

Celebrating At My Alma Mater

Very close to home this past week and a half. On October 18 I attended the Grand Opening of the Nancy Nicholas Hall on the UW-Madison Campus. This new hall is the first exclusive-use academic building on campus named in honor of a woman. And this building houses my school – the School of Human Ecology. With its mission of improving the quality of human life, SOHE turned out to be a great place for me these many years ago. 
The new building, with an attached preschool and an appropriate place
for SOHE's nationally-known Helen Louise Allen Textile Collection,
gave the School much needed space.

This is the old building - rather, the "historic building." Its second floor
looks very much like it did when this building opened nearly 100 years
ago. The terrazzo floor remains.
The two buildings are connected by "The Link."
Bucky Badger on a mural directs visitors from the parking area below
the new building to the public stairway.
There's even a secure area for bikes
in the parking area.

I’ll admit that graduating from SOHE (formerly School of Family Resources and Consumer Sciences, and before that Home Economics) was the quickest way to finish my undergraduate education. I had taken a variety of classes during some tumultuous times at UW-Madison without having a specific goal in mind. Fortunately, I stumbled upon SOHE. The School accepted all of my prior courses. In the end, my undergraduate years provided me with a great liberal arts education. I like to say that I was a few decades ahead of my time because now there’s a department in SOHE, Interdisciplinary Studies, that offers a major in community & nonprofit leadership. This would have been my major had SOHE been organized back then the way it is today!
Parents dropping off their children for the SOHE Preschool have their
own secure elevator from the parking area. LED lights change color on
the marquee. Notice the drop ceiling. What could be more appropriate
in a school that offers a design major!

One of my jobs when I was in human resources was at the Wisconsin Union. The organization has two facilities – Memorial Union on Langdon Street and Union South near the College of Engineering campus. Back when I was hired, Union South (originally built in 1971) was relatively new. However, in the 70s, it seemed that buildings were designed to be disposable. So 40 years later, there’s a new Union South. It is a stunning structure, planned to last far longer than its predecessor.

Last Saturday was Homecoming at UW-Madison and the 40th anniversary of the biggest tailgate party on campus – Badger Bash at Union South. Former Wisconsin Union staff and student leaders were invited to celebrate the occasion. The best treat was a pre-game show from the wonderful UW-Madison Marching Band, led by Mike Lekrone now in his 44th year as Director. The band performed in the plaza between Union South and the Engineering Library. We had a fabulous view from a second floor balcony.
There's even a big screen TV so fans on the ground don't miss
a moment of pre-game action.
Mike Lekrone directing the band. It was a great mini-concert designed
to rev up Badger football fans.
Our view was spectacular. 
My cousin’s son, Eric, plays euphonium in the band. Early this year he had the unique experience of participating in the 2012 Rose Bowl. Eric is following in the footsteps of his uncle, another cousin, who played tuba a few years earlier, also under the direction of Lekrone. Given his tenure at UW, today Lekrone might very well be directing grandchildren of band members who were there in 1969 when he became head of the program!

Rick is a graduate of UW-Milwaukee, but he enjoyed the Bash as much as I did. He even captured the band doing the “Bud” song.

When you say “Wisconsin,” you’ve said it all!

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Assassination Attempt in Milwaukee!

Not to worry – this wasn’t a recent try. Rather, Historic Milwaukee, Inc. staged a reenactment of the attempt on Theodore Roosevelt’s life one hundred years ago on Sunday. Roosevelt, affectionately called “TR,” had already served as President between 1901–1909 and  jumped back into politics in 1912. The 1912 campaign was characterized by a serious split between conservative Republicans under President William Howard Taft and the liberals/reformers under ex-President Roosevelt. TR’s followers bolted from the party and ran their candidate on the ticket of the Progressive Party. To reporters, Roosevelt once remarked that he felt as fit as a “bull moose,” thus the nickname of his new party.
On October 14, 1912, TR made a campaign stop in Milwaukee. He rested and dined at the Gilpatrick Hotel (the present Hyatt is now on the site). Later, the ex-President was scheduled to deliver a speech at the Milwaukee Auditorium (now the Milwaukee Theater) a few blocks down the street. Would-be assassin John Schrank had followed Roosevelt from New Orleans to Milwaukee, went to the hotel, and made his move as TR was leaving to enter his car.
Police - modern day and one from a century ago - monitored
the crowd that had gathered to see Theodore Roosevelt in
Milwaukee. However, they didn't manage to stop the assassin.
Roosevelt would not be overcome. Not only did he refuse medical treatment, TR asserted that no one harm Schrank insisting that the man didn’t know what he was doing. Nor did TR blame Milwaukee for what one crazed man had done. 

Theodore Roosevelt letting the crowd know that he was still alive after
the assassination attempt.
Rick managed to get a video of TR assuring us he would still carry on the campaign.

With a bullet still in his chest and blood soaking through his clothes, Roosevelt nevertheless addressed an audience of about 12,000 people in the Auditorium for nearly 80 minutes. He even joked at one point, "It takes more than one bullet to kill a Bull Moose." His heavy coat and the 50-page speech that he held in the coat’s breast pocket were credited with saving Roosevelt’s life.
The interior of the Milwaukee Theater today.

Roosevelt received 88 Electoral College votes to Democrat Woodrow Wilson’s 435 and Taft’s 8 in the final tally. It wasn't enough to win back the Presidency but quite a showing for a third-party candidate and a resounding defeat for a sitting president.

I had to do some research to learn more about Theodore Roosevelt and the campaign that occurred 100 years ago. All in all, a fascinating story that was brought to life (and almost death) by Historic Milwaukee. 

Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Cool Vintage Trailer Rally

Cool both ways – very good, excellent, interesting, fun AND temperatures in the 30s (make that COLD!)

BJ Frantz hosted us again at the WillOaks Campground in Woodstock IL. We were delighted to see old friends from past vintage trailer rallies and to meet new ones.
The pond at the campground was quite low this year.
This was the 5th year that BJ hosted and we set a record for the most trailers at the rally to date.
We took the '65 Trailblazer since Rick wanted to show his truck on Saturday.
Karen was across from us in her Shasta.
Lots of turquoise/teal at the rally.

Maureen's trailer with the painted shutters
is a work in progress.

John and Ann are a one-trailer couple
with their Friendship.

Kevin's combo is sure to turn heads going down the road.
Walter is owned by Julia and Norm from DeKalb IL.
Roger and Erin had a six hour drive from Indiana.

The highlight of the rally was the progressive cocktail hour on Friday night. We were grouped in “pods” for this party. The competition was stiff. Our pod (Karen, Betty, Maureen, JoEllen, George, Rick, and me) decided on a Halloween theme. We girls were costumed as the “Flab 5” – the women’s Olympic gymnastic team, the Fab 5, thirty years hence!
We've just accepted our gold medals and are singing the national anthem.
JoEllen won the trophy for best appetizers - gourmet tomato soup and
grilled cheese sandwiches - something that hit the spot on a chilly night. 
Bill, one of the hosts of the
"Back to Woodstock" pod reminded me
of Jerry Garcia.
Cory and Cindy partied like it was 1969!

Saturday activities included the Iron Invasion Hot Rod show at the McHenry County Fairgrounds. I looked at a lot of trucks. Could be because Rick was showing his ’64 Chevy Panel Truck.

This airplane car wasn't exactly a hot rod but certainly
attracted a lot of attention.
For some reason I took pictures of several blue trucks.
Another one that caught my eye.

Two trunks - what a way to travel!
A Crossley delivery sedan - two of these could fit into Rick's truck.
An oldie but a goodie.

One of the vintage trailer enthusiasts commented that if this were any other weekend we'd never be camping. But it's a vintage rally and a little cold isn't going to keep us away.

Rick and I are planning to host our own Wisconsin vintage trailer rally in June of 2013. We are looking forward to many of our friends joining us at our favorite, Ledge Park, Horicon, to celebrate June Dairy Month.

Tuesday, October 02, 2012

Wisconsin's Capitol

I finally toured our beautiful state capitol - something I had wanted to do for about 40 years. The Wisconsin Historical Society offered this tour as part of its Local History & Historic Preservation annual conference that was held here in Madison this past weekend. It was a terrific way to spend an hour and a half. The state's architect, Dan Stephans, was our group's guide. He was intimately familiar with the recent renovation of the capitol, a process that took place over 15 years. The cost of the entire project was $145 million and the Wisconsin State Capitol is now a designated National Historic Landmark.  
Some of the statuary on the outside of the building.
View down Wisconsin Ave - Lake Mendota in the background.

View down Martin Luther King, Jr. Drive - Lake Monona in the

Today's capitol is the third structure on the site. A territorial capitol was hastily built in 1837. Twenty years later, after Wisconsin had become a state, the capitol was rebuilt and a dome was added. Still not large enough, the capitol was expanded to four wings 15 years later. However, the capitol burned in 1904 and was rebuilt between 1906 and 1917. 
The detail within the capitol is amazing - even the door knobs with the state's seal are ornate.
A mosaic in the rotunda - before restoration...
... and after restoration.

Stephans told us that the German artist who restored the mosaics always had just the right piece of glass that was needed!

The dome of the capitol is three feet shorter than the U.S. Capitol. In Madison, no building within a mile of our capitol can be taller than the base of the columns surrounding and supporting its dome, according to a 1990 law. 

Underside of the dome - as seen from the floor of the rotunda.
"Wisconsin," with a badger on her head, stands atop the capitol's dome. When I first came to Madison the urban legend was that she was Mrs. Rennebohm pointing to the next location of a Rennebohm Drug Store (the forerunner of today's Walgreen's that are prolific in Madison).

Another famous statue that is on the Capitol Square is "Forward." The original bronze sculpture deteriorated after nearly 100 years of Wisconsin weather. After being restored, she was moved indoors to the headquarters building of the Wisconsin Historical Society. An outdoor replica was re-installed at the head of State Street.
"Forward" in her current home.
When I was working at the Society's Foundation,
we thought "Forward" needed to celebrate
the holiday season!

A building as beautiful as our state capitol should not be missed. Stop in the next time you happen to wander to Madison. Take one of the free capitol tours that are offered daily.