August 30, 2010

The next phase of life

So am working on what it means to have no children living at home anymore. Both girls are now out of the house and believe it or not, life continues....

Here's what I have learned so far:

  1. The house stays much cleaner.
  2. Dogs need even more attention since there's only two humans at home. Longer walks are a must.
  3. Kid's cash emergencies still require Mom and Dads' help. 
  4. Smaller containers of food are now economically green - since it goes rotten before we use it all.
  5. Toast with peanut butter makes a great dinner. 
  6. Bike riding fills time and gives a good work-out. 
  7. Conversation skills with your mate must upgrade probably since it's the only human you'll see at home.
  8. There's now one person left at home to focus my undivided attention on - poor guy.   

Here's to the next step in the journey of life.  

Yippee ki-yay

Raine and Bailey

MK took a great shot of two beautiful girls this summer at the Fete de Marquette party.  Raine and Bailey look so happy!

August 29, 2010

Working weekend

Lost a great tree last summer due to a lightning strike.  We took the tree down ourselves, and "aged" it for the past year.  This weekend, we rented a hydraulic wood splitter and chopped the tree up for fire wood.  
So our investment of a wood burning furnace last fall made a lot of sense.  And what a difference it makes on the gas heating bill.  This totally efficient stove really warms our downstairs basement/living area (in total about 1400 sq. ft)  By heating the basement level, the first floor benefits from the heat as well. But in order to use the wood burning stove, we need wood.  We can order it locally, haul it back from the UP or take advantage of a lightning strike. 
So here's the wood pile we stacked this afternoon after painting that side of the house earlier today - told'cha it was a working weekend. And this is minus the big woodbox I stuffed to the gills yesterday.  While I'll never say "bring on winter", at least this year we'll save about $300 with our "free" wood. 

August 17, 2010

5 reasons I would attend a wedding

Weddings invitations are seemingly coming from every direction lately.  I'm too old for this.  Here are my conditions for attending your "special day".
  1. This is your first hetero/gay/bi/trans marriage (all right, for at least ONE of the happy couple).
  2.  I am related by blood as family dynamics (Mom) requires attendance.
  3. We have known each other for over 10 years.
  4. You are marrying in a locale I’ve never been AND would love to see.
  5.  A BabyMama (not the bride) is invited to the glorious day for sheer entertainment.
Meet three of these conditions and I will most likely attend. Ideally, it is only for the dinner/dance portion of the day as the religious portion gives me hives. 

The fruits of summer

The tomatoes are now coming in a fury along with the zucchini and swiss chard.  With the mosquitoes ready to carry anyone daring to enter the garden, Todd prepared for battle.  Covered from head to foot - think beekeeper - he braved the fierce enemy and made away with a wonderful basket full of veggies.

That night we dined on grilled Great lakes Sturgeon with a fresh tomato, caper, basil topping, sautéed chard and rice.  Don't see sturgeon much around here.  Todd got it at the Seafood Center at the Willy Street Coop. The fish grilled nicely and was filling, rich and delicious.  I'd definitely eat that again.

August 4, 2010

Good friends

Friends find their way into your heart in so many ways.

Chris (in the front) is a young man from Germany who we first hosted as an exchange student in 2005.   Since that time, he's visited us four times.

To tell the truth, we didn't have much in common when he first came to our home.  Chris was petrified to speak English with us, he loved heavy metal death music, dressed in goth and he had learned about the Berlin Wall coming down in his history class (He was 3 years old at the time in 1989).

Yet, somehow....we found a great foundation and a flourishing friendship.We love his quest for music, knowledge and a sense of self.  Over the past few years, Chris has really matured into a focused and determine young man.

Today, he's on a three week music tour of the US with stops in L.A, Madison, Chicago, Austin, Houston and Dallas to play his beautiful acoustic guitar with his friend Johannes (siting in the back).

Visiting us for a week, Chris and Johannes explored Madison, played a couple of clubs, got a radio interview and made the Critic's Choice in the Isthmus Magazine with an great article.

They left us yesterday for the last leg of their US visit/tour before heading home to Germany.

Tschüss, guys, until we meet again.

August 1, 2010

The dahlias are blooming nicely along with the purple coneflowers.  Other sections of the garden have gone a bit wild.  The mosquitoes are so damn fierce, even in daylight, it's a losing battle trying to get trimming done. 

Sunset over Mendota

A beautiful sunset at the Tenney Park locks last night.

Sunday morning at farmers market

What a great way to spend Sunday morning in Madison.  The Northside Farmers Market is just the perfect size - lots of variety yet small enough to walk around in an hour and have time to actually talk to the farmers.  
Today's market was packed with amazing foods like these heirloom tomatoes - loved the shape and striping colors .  We brought Mississippi River catfish caught/cleaned this morning, fresh eggs laid yesterday, raw-milk cheddar cheese, ground cherries, shitake mushrooms and a beautiful bouquet of summer flowers - just to name delicious and local grown foods.  
The best baguette this side of France can be found at Madison' newest bakery called Batch Bakehouse.  Raine and I made an early morning run there today.  The baguettes were fresh out of the oven.  Pure heaven!  Above is my "go to market" bag that I brought at a French market in Nancy, France almost 10 years ago.  

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