NOTE: IN ORDER TO BETTER SEE PHOTOS IN THEIR FULL 1600 PX. RESOLUTION, VIEW THEM IN THE ALBUM FORMAT BY CLICKING ON THE LEAD PHOTO OR ANY PHOTO IN THE POST. This is especially true for landscape shots. Thanks to Mark for the idea of adding this alert so the photos can be seen at their best!

Monday, December 30, 2013

The Basketball Court

When Jeanna and I couldn't find the mural at Water Street Park in Sheboygan on our big mural hunt, we took the advice of a helpful citizen and drove a few blocks to the basketball court on the Sheboygan River for one that I hadn't even written down.

It was a biggie and I don't have panoramic feature so I borrowed the image from the Sheboygan Project website.  I'm guessing the fish is a sturgeon?  Help me out if I'm wrong!  Make sure to click on pics #1 and #3 to get a better look at the details.

But this was my favorite view.

Mural was done by Nick Mann and his Flickr website photos indicate that he gets around the country with his colorful murals, so maybe he's painted one near you!  Linking up to Monday Mural.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

Battle of the Sexes

Remember that heavy, wet snowfall I was talking about last Sunday?  The neighborhood kids didn't make snowmen, they went to war instead.

When I first showed up it was brother against brother, but it wasn't long before the girls showed up and the war really began.  (Cue "Rocky" theme music)

We need to build our own fort, this one's full of cooties

We'll decorate it with candy canes and flowers

Watch out boys, she's got an arm!

Hey, all's fair in love and snowball fights.

Friday, December 27, 2013

One Hat, Two Hat, Red Hat...Well, you get the idea

The thing about a gift exchange is you never know what the other people might dream up.  Katrina scored with a lobster knit hat for Cory.  He can't wait to see if it increases his tips while delivering pizza.

What we didn't know was that Wayne would get him a hat too!  His was black and white plaid with furry ear flaps.  Cory liked them so much he decided to wear both at the same time.

Then he stole Katrina's fingerless gloves that she got from Grandma.  He's secure enough in his masculinity not to be bothered by a little pink yarn on the edges.  Great for texting.

Now Katrina was gloveless, but not sockless since I bought her two pairs back when we were in the Smokies.  Two of her feminist heroes, hiding under the hem of her pants as she goes about her day.  One of them was Frida Kahlo, remember how excited I was about her photography exhibit last week?  More to come on that another day....

Pumpkin couldn't be left out of the Hat-Fest.  It took three humans to adorn his head.

He was mad.  But a cute mad.

Katrina and her festive little furry friend

We didn't make him wear the hat for long and he quickly forgave us when we started swinging things in front of him.  Ah, the simple life of a cat.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Boxing Day Breakfast in Menominee

We drove up to the U.P. to spend Christmas Day with Katrina.  After a ham dinner we watched "Christmas Vacation" and opened presents.  There's a hat story, but I'll save that for tomorrow's post.  As for this morning, no way were any of us cooking breakfast on Boxing Day!  Off we went to the Serving Spoon in Menominee, Michigan on First Street.

Wayne didn't care for their corned beef hash, but I thought their bacon and french toast were great.  They even poached eggs the correct way, always a rare treat!  But before we went in and ordered I wandered down the block with my camera.  You know how dangerous that can be.

The wreaths on the Spies Public Library were what caught my eye in the first place as we drove down the street, very festive when you added in the berries left behind on the tree out front.  The Spies Library was not a Carnegie Library, but was  built by the same Chicago firm that did many of them and was a donation from Mr. Augustus Spies.   I found this lovely postcard on the internet featuring the Beaux Arts building.

Just down the block is the Commercial Bank Building, of which I found no useful historical information on the internet.  Bummer.

A little searching dug up a link for this postcard from  1914 which shows part of the Commercial Building.  It's the white one to the right.

And on the corner is the First National Bank which was built in 1908.  From the looks of the postcard below I should've have walked around the side of the building, not to mention gone inside.  Next time, right?

The First National Bank today.  Fancy shmancy!

No time for major exploring though, it was just a quick, curious stroll up the street and then back while waiting for the grandparents to join us for that breakfast out before Katrina had to go to work and we all had to drive home.  Tomorrow I'll tell you my hat story.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas!

I decided my gift to my friends in  blogger-land would be to share my two favorite Christmas spots from this year's TV comedies.

And one of my favorites from a few years ago, Sheldon Cooper from "The Big Bang Theory" explaining to Penny that the foundation of gift giving is reciprocity.

Hope everyone has a lot of laughs on the holiday, with or without gifts and cookies!

Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Christmas Card-A-Palooza

Last year I meant to make homemade cards, this year I meant to make homemade cards...I finally got around to it, just a little late to send out this year. Everyone gets one next year!

I don't print photos anymore thanks to the wonders of the digital age and have a ton of scrapbooking supplies lying around unused. Trying to come up with innovative Christmas cards with all these scraps was kind of fun on Sunday.  What else was there to do while it snowed?

This morning I made a few more.  They're getting more elaborate, pretty soon they won't fit in the envelopes!

That moose ornament sacrificed its gold string for the ornament card.  I think it was worth it.

Tomorrow we're loading up the truck with gifts and goodies and driving up to Katrina's apartment in Menominee, Michigan.  Like us, she lives a mile from a state line, making her just barely a Yooper.  She plans on crossing the state line and coming back to Wisconsin in the summer so she can vote in next fall's Wisconsin elections. Did you hear about Scott Walker's idea of Christmas giving?  According to Walker's campaign team, toys are temporary, but political contributions are forever.

(photo couresty of

Not all is Grinchy in Madison's hallowed state halls, Governor Walker is going to make sure Santa has all he needs to make his way down chimneys in Wisconsin. 

I read this book while in a gift shop recently...I wasn't too impressed.  They make different versions for different states.  Cute idea, and the illustrations were nice but it could have been better written.  Don't rush out to buy a copy for your grandkids.

I'm thinking about a visit to the Capitol after Christmas in hopes that I can catch a glimpse of their tree before they take it down.  Looks nice, don't you think?  Have a nice Christmas Eve, wherever you are today!

Monday, December 23, 2013

Santa Dog

Since it's almost Christmas I'm posting this cut doggie in the window I saw on my walk in Kenosha from a few weeks ago.  He was all dressed and ready for the holidays. 

I couldn't find any information online indicating that Kenosha's art association had done any type of auction with dogs painted by local artists so I don't know if he's a local mutt or perhaps purchased elsewhere.  He looks kind of tropical so who knows where he originated?  He certainly brightened up the office window for the holidays!  The lights and decorations are really the only part of the season I enjoy anymore.  What do you like best?  See more works of art at Monday Mural.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

Let It Snow

Better snow than ice, I always say.  Friday we had so much ice on the driveway that it took me an hour and a half to scrape it all off so I could go to work.

Saturday wasn't as bad, but the streets were still iffy as the temps continued to hover around freezing and the sky continued to send down just enough rain to be dangerous.  It was Wayne's birthday, so we waited long enough for the salt trucks to get out there and then went to the store to exchange the gift I got him and to finish up his Christmas exchange shopping.

I had bought him a Hamilton Beach one cup coffee maker and the filter clogged immediately when we used it for the first time.  At TJ Maxx we got this great Kitchenaid model for only $49.99.  I made the first cup for myself this morning and it worked great!  I did not eat the goodies from Trader Joe's this morning...yet.  Hey, I bought salad and oranges too!

I've talked about my tree a few times, so here it is.  It reflects our love of the outdoors with woodland critters and this year I gave it a new look with some different ribbon and some big sparkly balls and snowflakes for around $40.  Have you seen the story about the woman who advertised on Cragslist for a family Christmas?

When I woke up this morning it was to snow and not ice.  We're supposed to get 4-8 inches of heavy, wet snow today, always better to get on a Sunday than a workday.  I suspect a few kids will be making snowmen this afternoon.  I was lucky enough to spot our neighbor's granddaughter come out and plunk down in the snow to make a snow angel and I just happened to have the camera in my hand already.

Awwww! Now where is that cup of coffee and that chocolate cranberry roll from Trader Joe's?

Friday, December 20, 2013

What Would You Need?

Watching "The Hunger Games" and "Catching Fire" made me think about what items I would consider essential to survival.  Katniss makes do with a bow and arrow, tablets to purify water, something to wrap herself in for sleeping, and a rope to tie herself to the tree.   Cool video below on how Jennifer trained to climb trees for the movie.

When I go tent camping I take very little compared to my neighbors at the campground.  A small cooler (sometimes), my tent, an inflatable mattress, a flashlight, a sleeping bag, my Kindle, and a small shower kit. Occasionally I'll bring a chair to sit in but I usually just read in my tent.  I don't use the fire ring. Besides a change of clothes and my camera gear that's it.  I get some odd looks.  It takes me five minutes to set up, even in the dark or the rain.  I've watched people take an hour or more to break camp on Sunday when it's time to leave.  In the shot below the people who wanted the site when I was considering whether or not it was time to leave showed up and I said, hey guys, give me a few minutes and it's yours.

Haven't seen "The Hunger Games"?  It's probably better than you think.  It's not just about surviving the "games" but about surviving all kinds of things: love, loss, even your own society and government. People get a little hung up on the children killing each other issue, but that's only a small part of the larger story.  The problem is the government that put them there; they do what they need to do to survive for themselves and their families, and in the long run the series is about how much will you sacrifice of yourself to fight injustice.  If you watch the clip below be aware it gets a little disturbing but I've seen way worse in other movies.

Katrina and I watched "Catching Fire" at the theatre when she was home for Thanksgiving and it met my expectations.  I give it two enthusiastic thumbs up!  Jennifer Lawrence is an incredibly talented actress.

What could be wrong with a movie that has a strong female hero?  Not to mention those hilarious performances by Stanley Tucci as Caesar.  Loved him in "America's Sweethearts", too.  Getting to watch Lenny Kravitz act is just a bonus.

But I digress.  Let's say you were stranded on a desert island.  Yeah, that old scenario.  And you had your basic "survival" gear.  You could get clean drinking water, you had shelter and a way to get food, and tools to make a fire.  What would you need emotionally to survive?  Say you were allowed five things, actual things, not people.  What would they be?  Of course this theme was tackled in "Castaway".  What do you need to keep your wits about you when you're lacking human companionship for a long period of time? What do we really intriguing thought at this time of year when people are spending money on tons of "things".
Here's my list.

1. Camera (battery and SD card included, I'll cheat a little)
2. Solar camera battery charger
3. Since I couldn't have my blog I guess I'd have to include a journal and pen
4. Smartwool socks
5. neti pot

Didn't expect the neti pot, did you?  If I couldn't have my allergy pharmacy on hand I'd have to at least have the neti pot! I know no one would see my photos, but that's okay, I mostly take them for my own pleasure anyway.  Sharing them is just the icing on the cake.  Normally chocolate would make the list, but not very practical for the long term and I don't think I'd crack under the pressure of a life without chocolate if it were necessary.

Well, not a very exciting list, but maybe some of you will have some more creative ideas.  May the odds be ever in your favor!

Wednesday, December 18, 2013


We experienced what felt like a heat wave today, high of 32F and only 12 mph winds! I couldn't pass up an opportunity like that so I hopped in my car and made the 45 minute drive to Kettle Moraine for a hike.  It was a little closer to pick up a trail in Eagle than to go to my usual haunt at Scuppernong Trails.

Nice, right?  Less hilly, but that's a good thing in the snow without snowshoes or skis. As soon as I stepped into the woods the wind was non-existent, it wasn't long before I took my hat off, and my fingers didn't even freeze when I took off my gloves to work my camera.  I was still all decked out from head to toe in Smartwool and Columbia so I was nice and toasty.  I was a little nervous about my Merrell Moab waterproof hikers, but they did just fine in the snow for the two hours that I stomped around, most of it off trail trying to find subjects to shoot.  I swear I'm not being paid to promote any of these name brands, but I love to spread the word when things work as advertised!


Yesterday was my "hey it's a been a year, stop in and let's see if you got cancer of the esophagus" appointment. Gee, doesn't the time fly?   No news is good news so far.  It was much less traumatic this time, and I don't remember anything past the minute they gave me the magic memory wiping drugs. She said, "Feel anything yet?"  I said, "I'm starting to feel a little dizzy" and then NOTHING.  It was like someone waved their wand and intoned "obliviate".  I've been watching way too much Harry Potter while being stuck inside.

Speaking of "obliviate", my walk in the woods resembles Hermione and Harry's time in the Forest of Dean, which happens to be the installment I watched while putting the finishing touches on my tree the other day.

 Wayne figured out some of the electrical problems so we stayed with the artificial tree this year.  Maybe next year we'll head out to the tree farm and cut our own.  Much like our favorite holiday movie which we'll probably watch this weekend.

For now I'm just hoping that I get more days like today when the weather is fine enough to leave the house.  My brain is working overtime trying to figure out a way to get to Reno, Nevada, to see that Friday photography exhibit before it ends in February, but I might have to settle for something closer to home.  I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a mild weather weekend in January to head up to Katrina's neck of the woods.  They have waterfalls up there and I'd love to get some frozen waterfall shots like Linda from Linda's Lens did recently.  Mine won't come from waterfalls as tall as hers, but I'll take what I can get!

What's your favorite scene from "Christmas Vacation"?  Katrina has a fondness for the "shitter's full" scene, Wayne likes the scenes where Cousin Eddie is wearing the black dickie under the white sweater and the daydream scene with the pool.  I can't choose, the whole dang movie is hilarious.  Sledding scene? Shopping for panties at Marshall Fields? Squirrel on the loose? Russ' reasons he can't help with checking the light bulbs? My favorite line though is probably right at the beginning when Clark says, "Burn some dust my rubber!"