Tag Archives: Wisconsin

That Escalated Quickly


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Cartoon from the great Dan Piraro, as shared on FaceBook.  http://bizarro.com

Anyone else notice how we went from dead of winter to Holy-Crap-I-Just-Saw-A-Robin in less than a week? I think I even saw a rare white headed snow bird, although they usually don’t drive fly home north until April.

I was out walking the dogs a few days ago (because I’m ALWAYS walking the dogs. When I die, my tombstone will say “She really walked those dogs a lot.”) and saw my first sandhill cranes of the season fly overhead. Although I am one of those weird winter lovers, I have to admit I grinned from ear to ear when I heard them. You don’t realize how long winter is until you hear your first sandhill crane, I guess.

Saturday, the sun shone and it was 62 degrees. In Wisconsin, that’s shorts and flip flops weather. And bike riding weather. And therefore, also leg shaving weather.

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I hauled my bike up from storage, threw some air in the tires, and dug out my fancy pants bike shorts. And then I took a gander at 6 months of forest growth and had to make a decision. Was it worse to scare the neighbors with sasquatch legs or to blind them with freshly-shaven, sun-deprived, neon white legs?

You’ve heard the term “Tan fat is better than pale fat” right? Well, pale fat is better than sasquatch legs. I hunted down the pruning shears and got to work. I wanted my winter white legs to look their best in my brand spankin’ new bike shorts.

I bought my new bike shorts off the internet. With justified trepidation I might add. Cycling clothes are sketchy enough to buy even when you can try them on, seeing as they seem to be made for toddlers and anorexically thin, middle-aged men. These shorts had rave reviews on Amazon, and everyone said they fit great and the sizing chart seemed legit, so I threw the dice.

I LOVE THEM. They have mesh pockets on the side for easy storage of maps, gloves, gel packs, phones – whatever us crazy bikers can think of to stick in there. I don’t usually wear the typical bike jerseys that have the pockets in the back (see above – toddlers and skinny middle-aged men do not have BUS’s (Breasts of Unusual Size)) so this is a great idea for me. I am totally geeked out about them. Plus the price was right and they actually fit without me feeling like a stuffed sausage.

And guess what? I also bought an over the shoulder doggie holder. That’s not what it’s really called, but it should be called that because I just made that up and that’s an excellent play on words.

Okay, I didn’t really make it up – I sort of stole it from the old “over the shoulder boulder holder” joke (that’s a bra for those of you who were sheltered as a child) but you have to admit, it gives a clear and concise picture in your head and is much easier to understand than the SEO title it has on Amazon. The “i’Pet® Hands-free Reversible Small Dog Cat Sling Carrier Bag Travel Tote Soft Comfortable Puppy Kitty Rabbit Double-sided Pouch Shoulder Carry Tote Handbag”.

What?

Exactly. So I tried that out today, too. One thing about spring in Wisconsin – it gets deceptively warm for about two weeks and all the birds come back and start partying, and then it snows, rains, and freezes for a month (and the birds fall for it EVERY TIME. You would think they would learn) so you have to spend as much time in the sun as you can before it disappears again.

See below – don’t I look like Paris Hilton? I could be her twin, right?

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For the record, I’m not really the froo-froo girlie girl walking around with her poochy-woochy-kins type. But Lucky dog has a bad feet so long walks leave him limping with bloody toes. And when I leave him home, he howls – which is equally detrimental to his health because everyone wants to kill him then. This carrier worked perfectly, and will make for an awesome summer of dog walking.

Okay – I’ve rambled on for far too long, so those of you still reading – go have some cake.   You totally deserve it.

Sue

PS.  If you want to check out the shorts, you can do so here: Aero Tech Designs  I’m pleased enough that I will probably buy a second pair.  If you are interested in the doggie carrier, you can check that out here:  Over The Shoulder Doggie Holder

PPS.  On my bike ride on Saturday, I stopped to check out Wequiock Falls.  There was a guy there playing one of those wooden flutes you see advertised on cable or at art shows.  He played under the bridge, so when you stood on the observation deck, you could only hear him, not see him.  It was surreal but cool.  Just had to share.

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Clean Your Plate. #CFFC


I’m way behind on my blog and wanted to do a quick little blurb so you all know I’m alive and kicking.  Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge (#CFFC) this week is about our Sense of Taste so I figured it was the perfect venue for something short and sweet (see what I did there?  Now that’s talent.)  Grab a quick couple of food photos, pop them in my blog and viola.

Do you have any idea how many food photos I have?  Neither did I.  Holy cheese on a cracker.  Apparently I like to eat.  And before I like to eat, I like to photograph it.  And then eat some.  And then photograph it again.  And then photograph the empty plate.  No starving children in China at my house, that’s for sure.

It took me forever to whittle down my food photo collection to a few that are actually in focus and have some sort of visual aesthetic.  So not only do I take a lot of pictures of my food, I am so excited to eat it I can’t seem to take a decent photo. Even so, I still had over 20 photos to consider.  Man, do I like food or what?

I finally decided to go with tasty regional treats – food items that fairly scream “WISCONSIN!”

First up:  Booyah.  And not the “BOO-YAH!” yelled as an exclamation.  Booyah as in Chicken Soup That We Don’t Call Chicken Soup Because It’s Really Called Booyah.

Most booyah is made with chicken, potatoes, carrots, and cabbage, along with other random vegetables like onions, green beans, celery, etc. and then maybe some beef stock or something – hard to say seeing as most recipes are family secrets handed down from generation to generation.  It all gets chucked in a ginormous iron kettle and cooked outside over an open fire, and served Burn The Top Of Your Mouth Off Lava Hot.

Summer church picnics, local festivals and family gatherings are where you will find booyah, often sold as a fund-raiser so bring your empty plastic ice cream buckets and be sure to buy some to take home.  It’s best eaten with a cold beer in one hand and a handful of saltine crackers in the other and perhaps a piece of homemade bread on the side slathered with real butter.  Follow that with some Belgian pie or raspberry torte and a hot cup of joe.  Or another beer.

Belgian Heritage Center Booyah

Booyah! Served at the Belgian Heritage Center in Namur, WI.

Speaking of beer…..that just happens to be my next photo.

Yeah, yeah – Wisconsin cliché’ but at least I didn’t photograph it with a brat (“brat” – pronounced “braht” -meaning delicious regional sausage that you set on fire with your grill while praying you don’t burn down the neighborhood and then eat it’s charred goodness on a bun with onions, mustard, ketchup and sometimes sauerkraut depending on your ethnicity).  But only because I didn’t have a photo of one.  I must eat all my brats before I think to photograph them.  This also happens a lot with cake.

Wisconsin is the land of sky blue waters and a LOT of beer, but New Glarus Spotted Cow is the best beer in all the land.  IN ALL THE LAND I TELL YOU.  Do not argue with me on this, beer heathen.

It’s also only available in Wisconsin, so if you want it, you gotta come here to get it.  It will be worth the trip.  I promise.

New Glarus Spotted Cow

Ice cold Spotted Cow on a hot sunny beach.

And for my final entry:  Friday Night Perch Fry.  Because A) we are as regionally Catholic as they come and B) the Great Lakes and Green Bay have a strong commercial fishing industry, with much of the catch being yellow perch.  Which are delicious deep-fried in batter and bathed in tubs of tartar sauce so you don’t actually know you are eating fish because fish are gross.  I do like perch except when they get ‘fishy’ and you never know if you are going to get fishy perch so I usually just get fried cod instead or better yet a steak.  In fact I think my photo is actually cod, not perch.  But who cares.  My point is that we eat a lot of fish on Friday’s, and perch is super popular and most people eat it except me because I’m a weirdo.  And fish are gross.

Friday Fish Fry

Friday night fish fry at Gibraltar Grill in Door County, WI

And that’s a wrap, people.  Oh wait – here’s a collage of cake just because you can never have enough cake.  The two people in the one photo are my parents.  You can tell the apple didn’t fall far from the tree.  Nobody in our family will get kidnapped.

Caketastically yours,

Sue

The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap! Stay safe! Eat cake!

The more you weigh, the harder you are to kidnap! Stay safe! Eat cake!

PS.  My apologies on my short blurb getting sorta long, so I guess I should have explained that I meant “short” by Sue Standards.  Cuz ya know, I always gotta write a book.

PPSS.  Don’t forget to check out the other entries at Cee’s Photography!cffc

 

Walking With Grandpas


So last week, I told you about my family tree project.  This week, I’m going to tell you a little story about my Great-Grandpa Julian Conard.

For those of you who could give a rat’s patootie about that, scroll down for some photos celebrating the color “orange” in response to this weeks WordPress Daily Post Photo Challenge.  But they won’t be as fun if you don’t read the story, so….

I was telling my dad about the family tree project and making sure I was following the right family, seeing as basically half of Belgium immigrated to Wisconsin in the mid 1800’s.

I asked specifically if “Julian” was my dad’s grandpa, which he confirmed.  He went on to tell me that Great Grandpa Julian absolutely hated being out doing chores in the winter – especially chopping wood – and he froze his feet so many times that he vowed he was going to move into town as soon as he was old enough.  Which is exactly what he did, and started a clothing store business, but that’s not really part of this story.

Great Grandpa Julian’s farm was located not just too far from where I live now, and my dad told me they used to have to come to town every Saturday, with the wagon and horses, to get supplies.  The trail ran along the escarpment that later became the main paved highway to Door County (part of which is now abandoned due to the new highway that went in several years ago) and what is now Bay Settlement Road.

But in the 1870’s and 80’s, it was just a dirt trail, with a tree canopy so thick the sun never made it to the forest floor.  On the way into town, they always had to go with two guys – one to drive the team and one to hold the shotgun, in case of horse thieves.

Unfortunately, many times the horse thieves were local Indians and my dad did tell me that my Great Grandpa had to use his gun a time or two.  Hopefully, just AT them to scare them off, and not IN them. But, they couldn’t risk losing their horses.

Horses were more important then than cars are to us now. Not just a mode of transportation – their lives depended on them for plowing, transportation, hauling, etc. Without their horses, their family stood a good chance of starving.  So to them, it was about survival – you didn’t give up your horses.

Last weekend, I hiked thru the woods along part of the now abandoned old highway.  It’s much more open now. and part of it is used as a snowmobile trail, but it was still kind of fun to let my mind wander back in time, and think that perhaps I was walking where my Great Grandpa walked.

Below are some photos taken during that walk, appropriate for this weeks “orange” theme for the Daily Post Photo Challenge

Snowmobile marker, with a fuzzy yorkie trail companion in the background.

Snowmobile marker, with a fuzzy yorkie trail companion in the background.

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A treasure of pine needles and leaves under the melting snow.

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Blarney! It’s an orange shamrock!

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Don’t worry, I stayed on my side of the fence! I was hiking in a DNR natural area. Loved the shape of the bark on this tree, and the orange sign.

Until next time

Yorkie butts blazing the trail.

Yorkie butts blazing the trail.

– me and my hiking companions bid you farewell!

Sue

 

Lifestyles of the Cold and Frigid


This morning, I rolled over and did what I do every morning.  I checked my weather app to see how many limbs I was going to freeze off when I took the dogs out for their morning constitutional.  This is what I saw:

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I rolled over and stared at the ceiling.  One of the dogs whined.  “Cross your legs,” I growled.  My dogs do not cross their legs.  My dogs say “Screw you,” and pee on the floor so I figured I better get up.  A few yellow doggie ice cubes later, and I was back in the house sipping coffee on the couch, burrowed in my Star Trek fleece blanket and wishing I was back in bed.

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“It’s too cold to go anywhere.  I just want to go back to bed,” I whined via text to my friend and co-worker.

“Then go back to bed,” she responded.

“I can’t.  Dave already made the bed.”

“And…?”

“Well, I have to go to work, don’t I?”

No response.

“Look- even the cat is in silent protest with me.  He’s sitting on my clothes.  I can’t possibly go to work with a cat on my clothes.”

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Again, no response.

“I hate all my clothes anyway.  Winter is so frumpy.  I feel like a stuffed sausage.”

Continued silence.  Ah, my friend.  You know me so well.  I kept texting.

“I want to eat all the cookies and donuts in the land.”

“But noooooo!  We’re all trying to be healthy!  Blah, blah, blah.  I’ll just eat this celery stick instead.”

“This cold celery is giving me frostbite.  I’m slipping into torpor over here.  You don’t even care.”

“Yum, yum, yum. Celery is soooo good! I just LOVE it! *gag*”

“I’m dying.  Dying of starvation and frostbite and hypothermia but you can’t even text me back.”

“This celery needs something to spice it up.  Peanut butter?”

“Bacon.  Bacon is the key ingredient to celery.”

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“I tried to move the cat and he bit me.  Clearly another sign I must stay home from work.”

“Oh great.  I ate too much celery, and my pants are tight.  Thanks a lot, Obama!”

“Aaaaaand even though I wasn’t wearing this shirt when I ate the celery, I still managed to get bacon grease on it.  Or maybe it’s peanut butter…not sure…”

“False alarm!  It was toothpaste!”

“I hope you’re driving to work right now, and when you get there you see all these texts and feel really bad that you let me down and now I’m dead.”

“I really hate this outfit.  Did I mention stuffed sausage?”

“The cat keeps staring at me.  I know he’s judging me.”

“OMG.  I just poked my eye with the mascara wand.   BLOOD GUSHING EVERYWHERE!  I’m so not coming to work.”

At this point, I threw myself on the couch and shut my eyes.  I didn’t stab myself in the eye at all.  I don’t even wear mascara.  It makes my eyes water and I end up looking like Tammy Faye Baker.  My phone buzzed.  FINALLY.

“You don’t even wear mascara,” she said.

“Bitch.”  I responded.

“Loser.  So are you coming in to work or not?”

“Maybe.  Yeah.  I guess so.” I texted back.

“Bring me a donut.”

And that my friends, is how you survive winter in Wisconsin.  Kind, attentive, loving friends, willing to talk you off the ledge and listen to your troubles…and donuts.  Lots and lots of donuts.

Stay warm my friends!
Sue

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Sue the Oddball: Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge


Welcome to Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge – Week 31

I had to think a little bit about what I wanted to use for my Odd Ball Photo Challenge entry, until I ran across this one.  Coming off of a very decisive Packers win against the Bears, this turned out to be a no brainer.

The Bears Still Suck

But we still love Jay Cutler.

No idea whose van this was, but the sentiments are shared by most Packers fans.  Photo was taken in February, 2010, when I went with some friends to Lambeau Field to welcome home our Super Bowl Champions.

Only in Green Bay will people stand for hours in the freezing cold just to see a bus full of football players, and take an odd sort of pride in it.  Can’t help it – we love our team and our city.

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Here comes da bus!

It certainly helps that many of our parents and grandparents remember the early years.  In fact, some of us even had a grandfather who went to high school with Curly Lambeau.

Curly Lambeau - first row on the left.  Cliff Conard - exact middle of the back row.

Curly Lambeau – first row on the left. Cliff Conard – exact middle of the back row.

For more Odd Balls – hop on over to Cee’s Odd Ball Photo Challenge and check them out!

Meanwhile, GO PACK GO!

Sue

Sue the Explorer with Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: Water or the Season of Winter


Welcome to the fifth edition of Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge.  This week’s theme is Water or the Season of Winter.

I have to say I have been waiting anxiously for this last topic.  Many of you remember when I turned 50 in January and spent the weekend at Glidden’s Lodge in Door County, on Lake Michigan.  It was a long, long, long cold winter, but that was truly a magical weekend.  I will always remember it.

So, without further ado, here are my favorite photos from that weekend.

Sunday at the beach

Sunday at the beach

Falkor the Luck Dragon

Falkor the Luck Dragon

Lone (and possibly crazy) kayaker.

Lone (and possibly crazy) kayaker.

These next two photos are of the same spot at Cave Point Park – one taken in September and then the other taken February 1st.

Cave Point, Door County WI - Sept 2013

Cave Point, Door County WI – Sept 2013

Cave Point, Door County WI - Feb 1st 2014

Cave Point, Door County WI – Feb 1st 2014

That’s all for now!  Be sure to check out Cee’s site and the blogs of other folks who are participating.  You won’t be disappointed.

See ya next week!

Go Pack Go!
Sue