Thursday, May 31, 2018

Mono Blooms

The spring went from snowstorm to 90 in the blink of an eye which is how fast the flowering trees and bushes change in the UW Arboretum. I took this photo the first week of May and bet everything has grown almost beyond recognition by now. I better load up on the DEET before I go back.

They have no idea how many critters are watching them 

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

One Fish, Two Fish

So many towns around here love a large fiberglass fish, the most famous being the giant musky at the Fresh Water Fishing Hall of Fame & Museum in Hayward, WI. At least I'm guessing it's made of fiberglass because it was made in Sparta by the FAST Corporation and the "F" stands for fiberglass.

I know catfish get huge, but can you imagine?

Hayward is best described as being, "way the hell up there" unless of course you're already way the hell up there. I haven't been to Sparta since I was in my pie making phase and would hit their bike trail tunnels to stay cool. Ah, youth, a time when you'd drive two hours to ride a bike instead of just turning off the oven or using that gas money to buy a fan. (I'd love to illustrate someone riding a bike with pies cooling in each hand, if only I could draw.)

Sunny The Sunfish

Sparta is 120 miles away and how I ever made it that far in the heaps of leaking junk I drove is beyond me. I  had to keep a thick rag in the car back then because I needed to spray ether in the carburetor to get it going, and then they'd start on fire.

Out of the sun on the Upper Mississippi Wildlife Fish Refuge in Onalaska. A great place to cool pies?

None of these photos are from Sparta or Hayward although now I want to visit the FAST Corporation and maybe offer to build them a better website. A shout-out to Seth from Highway Highlights who wrote about FAST's roadside attraction fiberglass graveyard and gave me another idea for a day trip.

Monday, May 28, 2018

On The Ferry

We took the Merrimac Ferry over to Boo today and I thought about how much fun it was to make friends in the seven minutes it takes to get to the other side.


Floppy puppy kisses! Whoseagoodgirlwhois?


I believe this was the only time I opened the car window today (besides at A&W where I highly recommend the fish sandwich which you wouldn't think, but yes, we both loved it).


 It got up to 93 or possibly 1000˚ degrees today, who knows. I went from my underground parking to my mother's underground parking and we drove in air conditioning. Notice she's got a jacket on her lap. 


The local weather has now added smoke effects to their forecast.  And did they want the weather guy's forehead to be that shiny?


Why do I always seem to post while I'm watching the weather? And did he just call a possible 77˚ weekend, "chilly."


Let's see that pup one more time.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Too Darn Hot

It's too hot for color.

A lovely spring day on the Mississippi River


Still "spring" but the word has lost all meaning (when digital images melt)



Friday, May 25, 2018

Wisconsin Points

I don't know what says summer in Wisconsin more than a neighborhood bar with an autographed Leinie's paddle hanging from the ceiling and a herd of cows on the Tee Vee.  Maybe Aaron Rodgers playing Sheepshead with Vince Lombardi, Chris Farley, Ben Masel and Ed Gein over pitchers of Summer Shandy? I say, "summer" because it got into the 90s pretty quickly considering it was snowing in April.

A Jacob Leinenkugel signed paddle at the Oakcrest Tavern, cheese curds on the bar and cows on the TV
Aunt Em ordered a Summer Shandy at The Chief last night and they didn't have it because they're "a simple bar."

She likes the way sunglasses make her hair look
Today I found the lemony Leinie's for $5 bucks a pint five miles away and $2 dollars for an eight-ounce beer in West Allis.
Aunt Sara, up to no good with her gin and tonic
I get WI points taken away because I'm writing this while watching the Avengers ("Mrs. Peel, Mrs. Peel are you all right?") but given back because I'm eating brats. 

Thursday, May 24, 2018

Through The WIndow

I have to be most thankful for an SUV missing us by a hair this week. I got a through-the-window photo on my way back home being fairly freaked when it happened.
We were coming back from a day of diners and pies when a white SUV (you can see it left) came barreling down an exit ramp, over a median and crashed into the car in front of us. When I looked into the car there was a 20 something (or possible teenage boy) behind the wheel.
It was nuts.
I can't find the incident online but holllly sh*t how does that happen?


It's nice to see everything blooming but I can't help but think this crazy hot weather isn't doing them much good. Bring on the tomato plants!

It's nice when people bring their dragon art outside

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Making Up For February

February might have been Pie Month but we've been hitting the diner scene pretty hard in the rainy weather. In service of keeping an old lady happy (as well as my mother) we've been comparing our two favorite diners and the latest food I really shouldn't be eating which seems to be mostly pie.

Cool, daddio (spell check wanted to change it to "radio)

Pumpkin Pie at da Norske Nook ya hey

Strawberry Rhubarb pie at da Norske Nook

"Real Food"

Caramel Apple Walnut pie, my mother thought it was missing something

Strawberry Rhubarb pie ala mode at Hubbard Ave

What was missing was some of my ice cream although it looks like mashed potatoes. We are not yet at the point of putting mashed potatoes on pie

The Results
My mother enjoyed both her Norske Nook Pumpkin pie and the Hubbard Avenue Caramel Apple Walnut. She especially enjoyed her pie with my ice cream. She was most enthused about the Pumpkin pie from the Norske Nook and isn't it weird it's in season? Is it fall in Norway?
Hubbard Avenue's Strawberry Rhubarb pie with its crumbly crust along with them asking if we wanted our dessert warmed and a la mode made it the Strawberry Rhubarb pie winner—June 9 is Strawberry Rhubarb Pie Day.
The Nook's Strawberry Rhubarb pie was too cold with an almost raw crust and uninspiring filling. The soft, undercooked doughy approach sets my teeth on edge and I see it way too often in cookies and other pastry. How do you like your bakery crusts, brown and crispy or the wrong way?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Monday Photos With a Friday Attitude

I was a little surprised to see this PBR banner encouraging bad behavior—well, not really.
Looking at the Pabst beer portfolio I was struck by how many truly awful beers they've produced. I was even thinking, "What, no Olympia?" and voila, there it was. Wasn't it Olympia with all the free merch, massive headaches, and week-long stomach distress? Maybe it was food poisoning, but I'm pretty sure it was Olympia beer.

Is this a bar or what happens when you leave teenagers alone for the weekend?  So what's the bad idea, drinking their product? And what about my favorite ballpark food, the White Trash Special (either a PBR and a PB&J or the preferred fried egg sandwich on white bread with a can of Pabst)?

Thinks fried egg sandwiches are barbaric but raised on PBR and white bread (no wait, that was me)

I think PBR & White Bread would be a great name for a band.

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Bird Fest

I went to Horicon's Bird Fest last week and barely spotted a living creature.

People were naming so many birds I thought they were making them up

Meanwhile back home, the local cranes were having a party in the front yard. 

One wing flap away from a noise complaint

Wednesday, May 16, 2018

Rain Noir

I was amazed we didn't get a tornado spinning through town last week and there's still some question of whether or not Fennimore did. I got a good look at that funnel cloud on the TV and if that thing wasn't a twister our state flag shouldn't be changed to a guy grilling brats while pounding a case of Pabst.* (It should.)
Fennimore is significant because it's only 12 miles away from where we get popcorn and overpriced trinkets and is the birthplace of my swinophobia (pigs were guarding a patch of ditch weed at someone's farm in the seventies—it was a whole thing).


*According to 24/7 Wall Street, not only half of the 20 Drunkest Cities in America are in Wisconsin, but so are the top four. The city in which I live is number four and the first college I attended comes stumbling in at number ten. Green Bay is still number one. Go Pack.

Monday, May 14, 2018

Half The Journey Is Getting There?

No, that can't be right.
Mother's day saw more dreary weather with maybe ten minutes of sunshine after we called it a day.


We couldn't decide whether to go east or west...I could have sworn there was a fisherman in that boat.


We were going to see flooding in either direction which meant I'd get plenty of, "Will you look at thats!" from my mother. 


She wants to have her picture taken with this statue, which is east. ("Will you look at that!")


We ended up going west to Rural Route 1 Popcorn which had fenged up their shui making for an unusually lousy experience considering we were surrounded by popcorn and tchotchkes. It didn't stop us from loading up on freshly popped plain, sour cream cheddar cheese and a large bag of every kind of popcorn they make. I'm eating the cheddar cheese like a farm animal from a feedbag right now.


We ended our day in DeForest at de Norske Nook. Look at this slice of absurdly delicious Fresh Fruit Strawberry Pie, one of my go-to pies. Yes, I have go-to pies. No wonder the sun came out after this.

Saturday, May 12, 2018

Sailboats and Movie Stars




Yeah I don't know

I was going to post a photo of sailboats I took last week and tint it pink for Mother's Day.

It might look better in black and white

What do you think?

In Rome, 1965: Aunt Flossie holding her cool white shades, Mr. Capuccio who my cousin says lived in the converted 1960 Rome Olympic village and two Hollywood movie stars

Then I realized I should just put up this picture of my mother and me in our matching movie star sunglasses. The sailor suit fits the post theme nicely. OMG I think I still have a purse like that.
This last photo is by my dad who taught me it's way more fun to be behind rather than in front of the camera.

Friday, May 11, 2018

Rainy Days and Pit Bulls

In for an oil change, out for a deluge and watching it all with my favorite garage dog, Gabby.




On this visit, I found out Gabby is a rescue from Alabama and has a bluish tattoo on her belly letting people know she's spayed. It's believed she was used for bait and that's why she's a bit tentative sometimes. But mostly she's a social little girl and has never failed to greet me when I drop by. This time she sat down in front of me while I told her all about that cat smell on my shoes.


Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Poppin' Into Pepin

I suspect that Pepin, Wisconsin has more boats than people and by the time I got there it was almost closing time as apparently the town shuts down at 7:30.

Mmm, river pickles
My research for the best hotel rates, free breakfasts and amenities flew out the window when the local police pointed me to a place with none of those. But people seemed enthusiastic about The Pickle Factory (closes at 7:30) so I went down by the marina to check it out.

How is this guy already tan?
I found lots of boats docked on Lake Pepin (which is actually a reservoir of the Mississippi River).

Even the hearing aid place looked quaint. The Harbor View Cafe (on the end, closes at 8 ) was packed
I was exhausted and hungry but everything looked so clean and friendly, kind of like a set from a fifties sitcom. Maybe it was the Laura Ingalls Wilder Museum (not pictured) making me want to throw a hat in the air (Minneapolis 76.2 miles) and be all wholesome. 

From the Garden Pub and Grille because I didn't know it was smoked brisket night
As it was getting late (6:45) I found an open-air garden pub and the small slice of heaven pictured above. If only there were a malt shop next door.

Ahhh (throwing blue tam in the air)

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Blowing Through La Crosse

When I went to school in La Crosse things like cars or even bikes weren't very common which considering the amount we drank was a good thing. When you needed a lift home—in my case a  two-and-a-half-hour drive by car, you did not want to take the bus—finding a car on the ride board with a heater wasn't a given, but finding a bar with an Old Style sign was.

Somewhere around Gotham I think (do you believe there's a Wayne Cemetary there?)

We'd keep ourselves warm by flirting and stopping at every bar along highway 14 with an Old Style sign. We were not responsible young adults.

Pepin, a charming place full of giant Adirondack chairs and these signs

It was in La Crosse where I met people from Up North-for-real and learned that you could fit a grill and an encouraging amount of coolers on a pontoon while navigating your way from bar to bar with virtually no sense of direction. 

♪ Over the river and across the bridge in the wrong direction we go ♫

I learned about Twins fans (as loyal as Cubs fans with a catchy club tune) and The Cities. And that if you crossed a bridge downtown you were in Minnesota where they mostly say "pop" instead of "soda." So why is it called Mini Soda?



I didn't graduate from there (shock) but I still dream about it. The few times I've gone back it strikes me how big it's gotten and how having never driven there I do not know where I'm going.

My sense of direction is much better on a pontoon full of sizzling meat and iced beer

Which is probably one of the reasons I overshot it, thinking, "Hmm, this looks familiar, but not good familiar."

Right church wrong pew, right river wrong state wrong side

I just realized there are no photos of La Crosse in this post. That's because I was too busy getting lost in rush hour traffic. Yes, they have rush hour traffic there.