February 26, 2011

This is what Democracy looks like!

Wow!  I was at the Capitol last weekend and it doesn't even compare to this weekend.  It was standing room only with citizens coming out to support each other.  If they say 70,000 people last weekend - then this Saturday, there was well over 100,000 people marching.

Are you listening to your constituents Governor Walker?

February 24, 2011

The world is a better place because of you.

19 years ago today Todd and I brought this amazing woman into the world. My wish, my dear daughter, Raine, is that you gain knowledge, happiness and love throughout your life. 

Happy Birthday!

Shame on Governor Wanker, I mean Walker

As a 7th generation Wisconsinite, a daughter of a Union Carpenter and UW/State employee and as a small business owner with 25 employees, I'm absolutely ashamed and appalled at what our Governor and the Republic controlled legislature is trying to jam down the throats of its citizens. 

Shame on these people.

February 20, 2011

Gnocchi Night

 Raine taught me how to make hand-"thrown" gnocchi tonight.  What fun!  This italian pasta is very similar to German Spaetzle except that there is lots of potato in the mix.  The basic recipe calls for baked potatoes (riced), flour, egg, lemon zest and nutmeg.  Pictured above is a gnocchi board and a pastry knife-like tool to quickly flip the little gnocchi (or knuckles) off the board.
After boiling until they rise, you simply fry them in a little butter to brown.  Raine added fresh peas, shitake mushrooms, parmesan, onion, garlic and cream to make a sauce.  Delish!

February 19, 2011

What the heck is going on in Wisconsin?

Ryann and I were two of an estimated 60,000 people who walked the Capitol in support of Public Workers in Wisconsin this afternoon.  

You see, our delightful Gov'nor has decided in effect to end their rights to collectively bargain.  Some say this is union busting.   All this is being done in the name of austerity and 2011 budget concerns.  But, I call bullshit.  This is a direct aim at further weakening the middle class.  I submit this interesting article posted yesterday at Forbes regarding the Koch Brothers (they of tea-party financing) and their attempts to destroy public unions.

Did you know that Wisconsin has a long history of standing for the working person; here's just a few of the benefits all U.S. workers have today because of the hard working folks in Wisconsin.
  1.  The 8 hour 40/hour work week introduced - 1886
  2. Workers Compensation - 1911
  3. Unemployment Insurance - 1932
As an 7th generation Wisconsinite, I"m proud of my state, our history and our people coming out in the thousands to stand for the right thing today. The corporations have already destroyed private employees rights to form a union across the country.  Now they are coming after the public workers.  
But hey!  Being Wisconsin, our great citizens still have an awesome sense of humor as witnessed by the sign above. 

February 15, 2011

Viva Las Vegas

Having never been to Las Vegas nor been allured by its "charms" - I crazily booked a weekend for Valentine's.  Going with the lower cost package I thought myself a great deal maker and I admit I did great with the accommodations....it was the horrid flights thru Detroit that will mar my memories for years to come. 
But enough of that for now....Enter the magical world of Vegas.  

Meet the front entry of the Aria Resort on the Strip, one of the newest and hottest spots in Vegas and home to the show "Viva Elvis" by Cirque de Soleil.

Hundreds of beautiful red lanterns for the Chinese New Year greeted us upon our arrival in the lobby of this beautiful hotel.  Trust me, no expense was spared anywhere.  And yet, the welcome was warm and being the smart Wisconsin woman I am, the deal very good!

Our first night, we dined in the Italian restaurant, Sirio, one of several very fine and delish restaurants in the hotel.  Unfortunately, I was in the midst of the second day of a horrid cold and could only see but not taste the great food.  Todd tells me the Tiramisu was as glorious as it looked.  I can't remember much.  I made it back to the room, and passed out sicker than a dog.  
Todd managed without me and went out with our Vegas friends (soon to be LA friends) Mike and Sylvia whose fabulous wedding we attended at Lake Tahoe last fall 
Saturday morning burns brightly in my memory though.  I was feeling nearly human and very rested after 12 hours of sleep, YAY! And on the road to recovery.  

Mike calls and offers to give us the native tour of Vegas. So the next few hours are spent in a 1989 BWM convertible seeing the sights!  What a fab time!  As this was a typical trip for Todd and me, it is packed with things to do.  

After a fun day with Mike, we get back to the hotel for a bit of a rest.  Because Sylvia got us tickets to see VIVA ELVIS!!!!  of which she is of the Cirque de Soleil Props Department extraordinaire.   

 Okay, I know he's dead, but still, the excitement of the show brought back so many memories of actually seeing Elvis TWICE in concert back in the 70s in Madison with my Mama!

Note to Mama!  This time I got a scarf!!!!  (Remember my little voice on your tape recorder, saying "I'm so excited!!!"?)   

Wow, the show is not only a tribute to the "King" but all of his legion of fans and their fond, fond memories. 

Also, because this is Vegas, that same night after the show, we met up with M&S at the best restaurant in Vegas - way, way off the strip called Rosemary's Restaurant.  This is a Michelin recommended restaurant.  The detail paid to attention was amazing.  And the food was out of this world though every course. From the knowledgeable waiter(ess) to the sommelier who brought the perfect wines, to the delivery of courses en masse.  This is definitely a restaurant Raine, my future chef, needs to check out!

After that fab dinner, and a few miles back to the strip to Downtown Vegas we checked out Fremont Street (recommended by my Dad) which is now covered with a light show and no road traffic.  (I'm thinking Madison's State Street could benefit from this idea!)  Actually, we spent two nights down here where the bars and downtown scene were great, drinks were flowing and the people were fab.  

So to start to close this story....here's a shot of the entry to the Aria  - A whole wall of water blazing in a desert. This is definitely Uptown.  Vegas is totally over the top.  Adult Disney World. Consumer City.  All that is crazy about America.  But, I still love it!

So the original purpose of the trip, was to reward Todd for putting up with me for 25 years.  25 Valentine days - or as my east coast friends would say "Oh mouy Gawd".  I say the same thing myself...  Dang, I still love that boy!  

Did I mention how amazing the hotel was?  The details were every where including the floor - check out just one of the marble inlaid floors in the casino. 

So to end the tale.  The only thing that marred the trip was that we flew through Detroit both ways.  The way to Vegas was greeted with a three hour lay-over.  Okay, I can deal.  But the flight back Sunday afternoon....after a three hour flight from Vegas arriving at 9pm eastern time, walking a mile down the terminal because the tram was out of service, we find our flight delayed.  At 1am we finally admit defeat and get a hotel voucher to only wake up at 5am to get back to the airport for a fun body scan and a 7:30 am flight back to Madison. 

Okay, Todd and I both agreed that we'll go back to Vegas some day.  We'll take a week, see the Grand Canyon, Brice and Lake Mead and one more night at the Aria.....

February 2, 2011

Tis the season for Venison

I swear my favorite carnivore meal is venison.  This venison loin was from Juneau County this deer season.  On Sunday, we marinaded the venison with fresh rosemary, garlic and ginger.  We seared it in a cast iron skillet, and then deglazed with red wine.  The scalloped potatoes were delicious 

And continuing on my Venison theme, the below video is by a favorite Wisconsin band during the 90s called, you guessed it, Venison.  Their album "Well Oiled Machine" is still one of the best road trip albums.  And as the song says, "In Wisconsin, we say Forward".  Rock on!

Amazing power of snow

Well the Blizzard of 2011 didn't disappoint.  We woke this morning to a 5ft wall of drifted snow at the front of our house. 

It was really fun to blow this pile of snow.

While our driveway is now clear, the roads haven't been plowed so we are stuck at the house until further notice.  Time to make some hot chocolate!
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