Friday, July 04, 2014

{this moment}

A single photo, capturing a moment from the week.
A special moment. A moment I want to remember.

:: Inspired by Soule Mama ::

If you're inspired to do the same, leave a link to your 'moment' in the comments, for all to find and see.

Nancy surprises Georgia with one of her custom, quilted portraits, a gift of love and thanks.

Thursday, July 03, 2014

Outside, Over There

If we weren't actually outside, we were at least looking outside. Every day in Wisconsin, we found beauty... green, lush, and inviting beauty, all around us. I never tired of seeing the farms, the knee-high corn, the dense groves of tall trees, the main street gardens, and backyard retreats. From our first glimpse down Grandma Nancy's street, passed the park on Main Street, beneath rising columns of deep white clouds, we felt revived by the views, the air heavy with the season of sunshine, and storms, fireflies, and strawberries. Outside, over there, in Wisconsin, it was breathtaking and inviting.

Inspired by author Neil Gaiman, and his telling of the American Gods who met in the Carousel Room, we went to House on the Rock. It is an indescribable spectacle, collection, and creation, so naturally we have been trying to describe it to anyone who will listen! It was every bit inspiring, amusing, absurd, delightful, and memorable. I like it best for the idea of building your dream, and making your passions the focus of your life's work. If I could I would bring all my friends there, so we could all see it, and discuss it, and enjoy all of our points of view on the experience. I read quite a bit before we left, wanting to be better informed, to have some inkling of what we were embarking on, but in retrospect I think only a few details were necessary, and nothing could have fully prepared me for the experience. It's cliche to say, but so true: You gotta see it to believe it! And I do believe it is worth seeing.

These three pictures are outside House on the Rock, looking at the base of the picnic spot that was the initial inspiration for building the house, then up at the the Infinity Room, which extends 218 feet over the valley, and a view from the Infinity Room. Inside was a whole other spectacle, I will have to post about later. All of it was fascinating.

Back at Grandma Nancy's home, we enjoyed her enclosed porch, walking down to the creek, swinging in the backyard. There is no swing in Grandma's backyard, not any more, but thanks to neighbors, Molly and Shane, there is still a swing... and they're happy to share. We watched the geese, found a frog, met Molly and Shane's pullets... such darling little Rhode Island Reds! Geoff made himself busy replacing the old screen door. No more old door getting stuck in the frame!

We went into Madison to see Paul, to picnic, and ride in his boat, and of course, to swoon over beautiful old homes, with deep porches, rambling gardens, and those tree lined streets that lead to wonderful places, parks, lakes, shops, and more. I do fall in love with places that can bring nature, and daily life beautifully, comfortably together. As we approached Paul's home we passed the park, and saw a huge tree, downed from the storm. Maria lamented that the poor tree would be cut and hauled away, when it could make such a fun play structure. And then! Walking through the park, on our way to the co-op {gah! I love this neighborhood!} we saw that the city is taking something into consideration... and the community will have a chance to consider what can be done with the fallen tree. Nature and our daily lives, living together. {Now that I say it, it sounds kind of absurd for the world to be any other way, yet we do live against nature in so many ways, it becomes second nature? How odd.}

Maria had a lot of observations to share, and one that she was especially in love with was that we could walk to Grandma's house, that it wasn't something that took planning, or a big effort, and she was so delighted by this. She's right... it's a special pleasure to walk to Grandma's, to have a bakery in the neighborhood, to be down the street from the post office, the farmer's market, to turn a corner and see familiar faces. Grandma Nancy's home was the hub of all our gatherings and fun. Gabe set up their playset, for volleyball and badminton. Izzy went on a frog quest, and came home victorious! At dusk the fireflies joined us, the mosquitos, too. Oh, well. It can't all be perfect.

Rich and Nick, Woody and Jane

Phil and Gary, Laura and Geoff

One evening we followed Phil and Georgia to their town, where we sat outside a brewery, listened to live music, and picnicked on leftovers from the birthday celebration. Maria, Izzy and Nick ran endless circles in the open field, between sips of brewery root beers, and chips with guacamole. Above, the clouds rose and built dragons, faces, gargoyles. Outside, in Wisconsin, is a lovely place to be.

Wednesday, July 02, 2014


We aren't in Wisconsin any more. We aren't in Milwaukee, looking at Lichtenstein's, we aren't sipping homemade lemonade at the Public House, or driving passed barns, listening to Neil Gaiman read The Graveyard Book, on our way to the House on The Rock. We already miss Chauncey, and Grandma, and fireflies, and the brilliance of green, {humid, deep, dark, lush green.} We've already begun to say, "Could we go back? Maybe in November? But before I do any more planning, or reflecting, what I really need to do is unpack, and address the issues of laundry, weeds, that thing the car still needs fixing. It's time to sort, purge, realign, and make order of hearth and home. I have little doubt that I will be back here, soon, and sharing a few of the nine hundred pictures, the thousand memories and delights, we enjoyed. I mean, surely, someone must want to know all about the flowers, frogs, old homes, and Little Free Libraries? Someone must be eager to know where to find the absolute best chocolate cake ever served, and I cannot be so heartless as to deny anyone that kind of vital information.

Wish me luck, please? I have these bright, ambitious plans to whip our home into shape... here's hoping my health and resilience can match my vision!

Tuesday, July 01, 2014

So, Chicago

We saw this... The Lake is in there. 

And then...

We enjoyed watching this. 

And then...

We watched this!  William, Max,Maria, and I enjoyed several awestruck, blissful, delighted hours looking out the window. A very big storm came through... made the papers, and we watched it all on our big screen. It was one of the best nights of our Midwest adventures.  

Someday, if we should happen to pass through this city, again, it won't be without Jennifer W, Diana H, Bobbie L, and Anna Banana... My good friends and big city muses.   

Monday, June 30, 2014

Five {or more} Good Things

Sunday.  Sunday was a very good day.  Starting with the flowers growing at the turn signal on our way to meet Paul, and Holly, for breakfast, right through the thunderstorm at bed time!  We went to Cave of The Mounds, and explored limestone caves with amazing formations.  We found fossils and gems, and witnessed geologic signs of ancient sea beds in Wisconsin.  We ate the best chocolate cake ever of my whole life, which I have craved and dreamt of for twenty years.  Not kidding, here.  We found four Little Free Libraries, and got a personal tour of Mineral Point's Opera House.  We sat under beautiful trees, in a very old and beautiful cemetery.  We had one more visit at Grandma's.  And we drove home after dark, with fields and fields of knee-high corn full of brightly flickering fireflies to enchant us~
That's not nearly everything, but it's a new day, now, and there's more to see and do, and typing it all on this teeny keypad is cutting into my fun!

Good Things...

1.  Cousins playing

2.  FB and texting and cameras and face time, and real time, and just whatever means we have of staying connected... all of it can be so good. 

3.  That cake!  

4.  Fire flies, barns, corn fields, big trees, old homes, old cemeteries, and thunderstorms 

5.  Thinking of home, and Alex.  

Have you some good things to share?  Please, do.