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!

Sunday, April 23, 2017

Roadside Finds in the Northern Highlands

Way up north in Wisconsin earlier this month there was still some snow hanging around.

Seen in St. Germain

When I motored into Woodruff I stumbled across the World's Largest Penny which commemorates a 1953 fund-raising stunt. Dr. Kate Pelham Newcomb (known locally as "The Angel On Snowshoes") implored local school children to save their pennies so that Woodruff could build a hospital. TV picked up on the story and pennies were soon pouring in from all over the country - 1.7 million in all.

Woodruff got its hospital, and the schoolchildren of 1953 are just about ready to enter the new assisted living facility behind the penny.

Minocqua's Hallman-Lindsay Paint store has a collection of colorful cows that were so detailed even their backsides were on display.

In 1893, newspapers reported the discovery of a hodag in Rhinelander, Wisconsin. It had "the head of a frog, the grinning face of a giant elephant, thick short legs set off by huge claws, the back of a dinosaur, and a long tail with spears at the end". The reports were instigated by well-known Wisconsin land surveyor, timber cruiser and prankster Eugene Shepard, who rounded up a group of local people to capture the animal. The group reported that they needed to use dynamite to kill the beast. (from Wikipedia)

A photograph of the remains of the charred beast was released to the media. It was "the fiercest, strangest, most frightening monster ever to set razor sharp claws on the earth. It became extinct after its main food source, all white bulldogs, became scarce in the area."

The hoax got more elaborate, with Shepard capturing a "live" Hodag and showing it at the Oneida County Fair.  Once The Smithsonian announced their impending visit to inspect the discovery the game was over.  But the Hodag remains the symbol of Rhineland to this day and replicas can be found around downtown.  What else will I find on the roads of Wisconsin, I wonder?

Wednesday, April 19, 2017

City of Sculptures - Waupun

The city of Waupun was first settled in 1838 and the meaning of the word is "the early light of day" and is of Indian origin.  By 1857 the city was incorporated and the Chicago Milwaukee & St. Paul railroad had come to town.


 Today Waupun has one of the highest concentrations of public art per capita in the United States, the bronze sculptures all over town were created by Clarence Shaler.


Over the decades Waupun has seen a lot of industry come and go including manufacturing of shoes, umbrellas, carriages, windmill manufacturing and a mill for knitting concerns. 


The town has also been home to a state prison since 1851 and is still a large presence right smack in the middle of downtown today.  So strange since usually the prisons you pass on out in the fields.  The picture above is of City Hall, much more pleasant.


My favorite sculpture was called "Dawn of Day" and is right in front of City Hall.  What do you think?


Waupun's most famous sculpture is in a nice little city park next to the local cemetery.


The original model of “The End of the Trail” was created by James Earl Fraser in 1894 when he was 17 years old.  It’s completed size was only 18 inches tall.  Fraser was asked to replicate his masterpiece in plaster for the 1914 Panama Pacific International Exposition in San Francisco which was where Shaler first beheld the work of art.  The child of pioneer farmers, Shaler had contact with Native Americans living around nearby Lake Emily and was saddened by their disappearance over the years.  As a tribute to the Native Americans he commissioned James Earl Fraser to cast the statue in bronze as a gift to the City of Waupun.

"The End of the Trail"

 It took two years to complete at a cost of $50,000 and was unveiled at its present site on June 23, 1929.  In 1975, the statue become a Wisconsin landmark and is listed on the National Register of Historic Sites.  While maybe not a destination, Waupun is a fun little side trip just minutes from Horicon Marsh if you are in the area.

Tuesday, April 11, 2017

Springing into Town

Spring has been slow to come to Wisconsin, as it does every year.  I've been putting miles behind me almost every day, though I haven't been singing along to the radio because it makes my voice hoarse and it's hard to sell those frames with magnetic clips if no one can hear me.


In Hobart I met some great Opticians who work at the health department building for the Oneida Nation.  If you are in the area stop in and check out their art displays in the public areas.


If you are in Oconto you must stop at Wayne's Family Restaurant for some pie.  They are the 25 time blue ribbon winner at the American Pie Council competition.  I had the was okay.  We've had other varieties there that were better though so don't hold that against them.


I still haven't gone inside, but I did finally stumble across the Oconto County Courthouse.

In Appleton I saw a mural depicting the history of the Hmong which was a surprise.


A side trip into Belgium is always in order so I can see Lake Michigan at Harrington Beach State Park.  I also got to see some deer enjoying one of our few lovely sunny days.  Look hard!


And here is a selfie of the new glasses.  These are the Easyclip ones with the magnetic clip which have been a lifesaver as I drive around and the sun plays hide and seek.  My mom got a pair too and she told me yesterday that she loves them!


Of course I will have more eyewear to model soon, I'm picking out some Adidas sunglass frames for myself today and I still have a shipment of some funky styles from DiValdi yet to arrive.  It's a good thing I'm gone on the road all the time or the UPS driver would tire of seeing me at the end of the driveway with a hopeful look on my face!


And I'll end this post with a frog on a bench in Cedarburg.  More on Cedarburg another day, it's a lovely town to visit, but I'll wait for a sunny day to highlight it's charms.  Maybe I'll even bask on the bench with the frog, stranger things have happened.

Monday, April 10, 2017

Mayville Post Office Mural

Still not a lot of time for adventures, though I have been able to cut down from working 2 jobs 7 days a week to working 2 jobs 6 days a week.  A few more weeks to train a new hire and I will be cutting the apron strings with my old job...I swear!


While driving from Waupun to Mayville the other day I saw this great old truck in someone's front yard.


Even better was the dinosaur duo who apprehended the Easter Bunny.


Look carefully and you will see me reflected in the doors of the Mayville Post Office.


I had to stop in and see the Post Office mural that I missed when Wayne and I checked out the town back in 2013. 


I have to admit I don't remember what town I saw this mural in, but it is an especially nice one so I included it even though I can't credit it. I have a few posts to write and will get them up over the next few days, now that I only work 6 days a week and all.  Linking up to Monday Mural.

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Many Murals

Recently on the road my eye caught quite a few murals, not all of which I had time to stop and investigate further.  The nice thing about my new job is that I will be driving through these areas again and don't have to stop for everything immediately like you try to do when on vacation.

While driving through the town of Keshena I saw a few things related to the Menominee Indian Tribe.  Their rich culture, history, and residency in the area now known as the State of Wisconsin, and parts of the States of Michigan and Illinois, dates back 10,000 years. At the start of the Treaty Era in the early 1800’s, the Menominee occupied a land base estimated at 10 million acres; however, through a series of seven treaties entered into with the United States Government during the 1800’s, the Tribe witnessed its land base erode to little more than 235,000 acres today. The Tribe experienced further setbacks in the 1950’s with the U.S. Congress’ passage of the Menominee Termination Act, which removed federal recognition over the Tribe and threatened to deprive Menominee people of their cultural identity. Fortunately, the Tribe won back its federal recognition in 1973 through a long and difficult grassroots movement that culminated with the passage of the Menominee Restoration Act, Public Law 93-197, on December 22, 1973. (from

lovely views in the Menominee Nation

In recent years the Menominee along with Hard Rock Casino (owned by Florida's Seminole tribe) were trying to get an off-reservation entertainment complex going in Kenosha which would have provided 10,000 jobs to the area.  Kenosha suffered over the last decades in employment rates with the closing of the Chrysler plant and other employers.  Governor Walker rejected the plan in 2015 just before he entered the presidential primaries.  There were a lot of factors leading to the decision, so I will remain neutral on the subject since it is an area I do not claim to understand.  Those jobs would have been nice though, and the Menominee  Nation could have used the monies as well since they suffer from many social ills currently that they do not have the funds to address.

Up in Northwoods I noticed a few murals in the town of Tomahawk, including this charming piece of imagination on the side of Cover to Cover Books.

The town of Baraboo has some new murals, including one featuring citizens of Baraboo both famous and ordinary.

While in an antique store in Baraboo I admired artistic ingenuity of another type.

There are a few noteworthy signs in Baraboo as well, including the one above that I admire every time I pass through.  And I saw a unique sign concept in Wisconsin Dells as well...

Don't be alarmed if you're in Wisconsin Dells and you see cars with moose on top of them.  I can't vouch for the pizza, but they always seem to be busy!  I'll get inside and order one of these days.

But for now I'm more interested in seeing how Aspex does with their new offering.  If you don't want a sunglass clip with your Easyclip frame you can request a BlueClip instead.  Constantly connected and exposed to the light from digital devices, today’s users need a form of protection from the harmful effects of blue-violet light which can cause headaches, sleepless nights and digital eyestrain, not to mention the long term effect of possible damage to retinal cells that could increase your risk of macular degeneration.

Whether you want a removable BlueClip or choose some other form of protection those who spend a lot of time in front of devices should seriously consider adding something to their next pair of glasses, and this is especially true for children.  Cory has a blue-blocking anti-reflective coating on both of his pairs of glasses and I have it on my computer glasses.  I opted for the sunglass clip over my anti-reflection coated lenses in my new Aspex frame - I'm sure I'll be wearing it the next time you see an outdoor photograph of me!

Sunday, March 12, 2017

North to South and North Again

Been wondering where I've been these past weeks?  From Sturgeon Bay I had sales calls to make in Manitowoc and Sheboygan, old favorites of mine to visit.

downtown Manitowoc

And since the weather was a bit warmer than usual my mother and I even took a five minute walk down on Point Beach in Two Rivers.

Look! Sun!

I was home for a few days and then it was on to a different part of the state - I left on a Sunday afternoon and drove 4 hours north to the Wausau area, where I drove from Medford to Marshfield to Stevens Point and quite a few stops in offices in Wausau itself.

Taylor County Courthouse, Medford

I've shown a lot of glasses, including to a few patients who happened to be around and wanted to see what I had to offer.

I don't think a new pair of glasses will improve her "look"

My parents showed up on my last day in Wausau and my mother went with me north to Merrill where we stopped for a fantastic lunch at the Checkered Churn.  They make their own fresh buns every day that they serve their sandwiches on.  The menu is small, but tastes are large and satisfying so bring an appetite!

best tuna sandwich and chicken noodle soup ever

The weather was a bit hazardous so I saved visiting the courthouse for my return in early summer.

My parents stayed behind in Wausau to wait out the snowstorm, but I braved the roads and headed back south.

I finally found the time to pick out a new pair of frames for myself, but haven't gotten the frames from the company yet, much less the lenses unfortunately.  Back in the southern part of the state I've driven from Kenosha to Racine to Wauwatosa to Menomonee Falls.  I'll know this state like the back of my hand before the daffodils bloom.

Seeing Eye Dog?

I'm on the road for a few days overnight again, and my mother came with me again too.  We left a day early to get ahead of a snowstorm in the southern part of the state and will be spending a quiet day in Appleton just north of the nasty weather before the round of appointments begin again on Tuesday morning.

On the job

Now that I'm getting better organized and half of my accounts have been contacted I expect I'll start having some time to enjoy my travels a bit more.  I may have been missing for a few weeks but you haven't seen the last of me yet!

Tuesday, February 21, 2017

"Sampling" Sturgeon Bay

On Sunday my mother and I wedged ourselves into my car full of sample bags and headed north to Door County.

With no appointments until the next morning we made a stop in one of my favorite spots in Wisconsin - the John Michael Kohler Center for the arts in Sheboygan.

I don't just come for the elaborate bathrooms, though I will admit I still get tickled when I open the door and get an eyeful.  It's always different art on display when I visit and you never know what you will find.

In Sturgeon Bay we stayed at the White Lace Inn, which was fine enough, but it was the meal at the Inn at Cedar Crossing that made an impression.  The cherry pie was the best I ever had!  With a hint of almond and a crust that was so fluffy it was practically cake I told the waitress when she came back that my mind was blown and life would never be the same again.

I was so anxious so start my day that I was up and walking the streets of town at 6:00 trying to burn off some nervous energy.  We've been experiencing a warm spell and there was no wind so it was an unexpected opportunity to get outdoors at a time of year I'm usually huddling inside.

John Purves tugboat

Even though I left Wayne behind I thought of him often and especially our tour of the John Purves tugboat at the Door County Maritime Museum.  It was very pretty all lit up for Christmas with a tree on deck too.

This upside down weather we're having must have confused the snowmen, because there sure isn't any ice around for him to slip on!  My first day as a sales representative is behind me, and while I must have been amusing to watch as I hunted for things and dropped things and looked incredibly awkward, by the end of the day I felt like I would be fine...soon I hope.  Still on the road, today I visit offices in Manitowoc and Sheboygan and after an early start I hope to get outside because it's going to be another beauty!

Monday, February 20, 2017

Happy President's Day

For Presidents Day I'll share a final post from my trip I took in January to the Presidential Museums.

Everywhere Katrina and I went on this trip we kept learning new things about our past presidents, even ones whose museums we weren't visiting.  Their names and deeds cropped up everywhere from podcasts we were listening to on historical events to the crossword puzzle book I picked up in one of the gift shops.  Here are a few facts we didn't know that I found interesting and maybe you will too!

John Adams 

John Adams, our first Vice President and second President, died on the same day as Thomas Jefferson which was July 4th of 1826, 50 years to the day after Congress adopted the Declaration of Independence!  That one was definitely the strangest one we came across.

Thomas Jefferson
Photo via <a href="">Good Free Photos</a>

  • Our third U.S. President had some profound things to say over the years, but he did not believe that women should be involved in politics, saying he hoped they were "contented to soothe and calm the minds of their husbands returning ruffled from political debate."  No one's perfect, I guess!
  • Thomas Jefferson founded the University of Virginia which was the first university not centered around religion.  Of course it has been added to the list of places to visit, Sherry has posted beautiful pictures of it in the past!
  • What is the "Jefferson Bible"?  Follow this link to find out.  You can even buy a copy if you are intrigued. You'll also get a quick synopsis of "deism" which was a belief system of the time.

Abraham Lincoln 
  • Abraham Lincoln won the 1860 election to become our 16th President despite his name being absent from the ballot of several states.   
  • He was the first Republican president, the party was founded by anti-slavery activists, modernists, ex-Whigs, and ex-Free Soilers in 1854, the Republicans dominated politics nationally and in the majority of northern States for most of the period between 1860 and 1932. The first public meeting of the general "anti-Nebraska" movement where the name "Republican" was suggested for a new anti-slavery party was held on March 20, 1854 in a schoolhouse in Ripon, Wisconsin. The name was partly chosen to pay homage to Thomas Jefferson's Republican Party.

Here's something both Katrina and I were surprised about: not all of our U.S. Presidents were married or had wives as First Ladies while in office!  We learned this while viewing portrait of the Presidents and their First Ladies at the LBJ museum.

  1. Thomas Jefferson and his wife had most of their children die in childhood, and his wife died at the age of 33 four months after the birth of their last child.  He had his daughter Martha who he was very close to after his wife's death as First Lady.
  2. Jackson's wife died shortly after his election and the duties fell to her niece.
  3. VanBuren's wife died 18 years before he was elected, so his daughter-in-law filled the role.
  4. John Tyler, President 1841-1844, had a wife named Letitia who died in 1842; he remarried in 1844. 
  5. James Buchanan, elected in 1857, was the only unmarried president to stay single his whole life.  The job of First Lady went to his niece, Harriet Lane Johnston, who assumed the role of White House hostess and used her proximity to power to champion several social causes.
  6. President Arthur's wife died of pneumonia 19 months before he became president when James Garfield was assassinated. 
  7. The last bachelor elected to the White House was Grover Cleveland in 1886, but he married in his first term. Grover Cleveland, President 1885-89 and 93-97, bachelor upon taking office, married 1886 (the only one to have the actual wedding take place in the White House) 
  8. Woodrow Wilson, President 1913-1921 remarried during his term in 1915, one year after the death of his first wife.

Herbert Hoover

  • In 1931 President Herbert Hoover signed an act making "The Star Spangled Banner" the national anthem.
  • Hoover took office in 1929, when the very concept of "illegal immigration" was fairly new. For most of its previous history, the U.S. had encouraged immigration and threw up few legal barriers. The first permanent quotas on immigration had been put in place by the Immigration Act of 1924. And even that law did not apply to Mexico, or to any other country in the Western Hemisphere, because the U.S. didn’t want to alienate its neighbors, and needed Mexican laborers to help with the harvest. It did completely exclude immigrants from Asia, however, and set limits on immigration from Europe.  Hoover appointed the commission that brought abuses of the deportation system to light, and that the descriptions of a "Mexican repatriation" during the Depression don’t put the blame exclusively, or even predominately, on federal officials. They also cite actions by state and local officials, "job denials" by private employers, and pressure by labor unions. For more on this topic go to this link.

Theodore Roosevelt
  • On October 14, 1912, an unemployed saloon keeper shot presidential candidate Theodore Roosevelt outside a Milwaukee hotel. Rather than being rushed to the hospital, Roosevelt insisted on delivering his scheduled 90-minute speech.  It's a great story, click this link for more details!
  • Teddy Roosevelt was the first president to call the official residence the White House.  He was also the first to be called "Mr. President".  His predecessors were called "Your Excellency" or "Your Honor".
  • He also sailed his presidential yacht on the Potomac and Anacostia Rivers and after strenuous walks along the Potomac, the president on occasion would shed all his clothes and take a plunge in the river to cool off.  This guy was monumentally cool, I can't wait to visit one of his historical sites and learn everything I can!
Dwight D. Eisenhower
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower was a painter.
  • He added the words "under God" to the Pledge of Allegiance in 1954.
  • President Dwight D. Eisenhower signed a law officially declaring “In God We Trust” to be the nation’s official motto. The law, P.L. 84-140, also mandated that the phrase be printed on all American paper currency. 
Richard Nixon signed Title X into law here is a quote from his statement:  I called for a national commitment to provide adequate family planning services within the next 5 years to all those who want them but cannot afford them. It was clear that the domestic family planning services supported by the Federal Government were not adequate to provide information and services to all who want them on a voluntary basis.

To implement this national commitment, I asked for expanded research in contraceptive development and the behavioral sciences, reorganization of family planning service activities within the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare, and legislation which would help the Department to implement this important program by providing broader and more precise legislative authority and a clearer source of financial support. The National Center for Family Planning Services was established in the Department of Health, Education, and Welfare shortly after my message.

Ronald Reagan
  • As president of the Screen Actors Guild he testified about entertainers he thought were communist sympathizers during the Red Scare.
  • He won a record 525 electoral votes for a second term against Democrat Walter Mondale.
  • In 1983 President Ronald Reagan signed a bill that created a federal holiday to honor Martin Luther King Jr. The holiday, first commemorated in 1986, is celebrated on the third Monday in January, close to the civil rights leader’s January 15 birthday.

In relation to current events, the road to affordable health care for our citizens has been longer than most folks may realize.  Take a look at this display from the LBJ Museum.  I was surprised to learn it was George W. Bush who signed the prescription drug benefit for Medicare!

And it was LBJ who signed the Immigration and Nationalization Act of 1965.  I am horrified that immigration legislation is being attempted to be used as a means of discrimination again.  But I am also thrilled that so many citizens have stepped up and made it known that it won't be tolerated, from marches to the small acts ordinary folks are doing when they see discrimination in everyday life.  Democracy in action, spread a little of it yourself this Presidents Day if you can!