Tag: Master Sergeant

Taking Over Milwaukee

The Tech Sergeant (who is about to get a promotion and will have to be renamed) and I met in Milwaukee for a weekend of relaxation and exploration.

We both ducked out of our respective homes late Thursday, I driving east and he west. I had to beat him there as I was the one with the hotel reservation. I’d used Hotwire and we were staying at the Hilton City Center. We both chose to park at the hotel, coworkers had shared a couple of “scary parking stories” and we knew we’d have to pull the cars at least twice.

In true “watch us wilt at the same time,” despite plans of immediately launching ourselves on the town, we both opted for beverages and catching up and a midnight bedtime. Painting Milwaukee red would have to wait.

Friday was absolutely perfect from a weather perspective, clear sunny and just warm enough. Armed with a map, we set off. We stopped at George Webbs for breakfast, good basic breakfast food and decent coffee. From breakfast it was off to the art museum. If you’ve never approached it, as you’re walking east on Wisconsin Ave you wonder “Is that a boat? Oh it must be some kind of crazy yacht. No wait, that’s a building, oh that’s the art museum.” Apparently Santiago Calatravas was to attempting to capture bird wings in flight–in steel. It’s unusual. I wondered about trying to heat it (we were in Wisconsin), trying to clean the windows (no thanks) and what the acoustics were (it was too loud inside for me to get a clear sense of how higher pitched sounds would reverberate. TS thought my muted squeaking attempts amusing.)

We enjoyed the art museum and in grabbing beverages after TS discovered a lemonade that he would continue to drink all weekend, apparently it’s locally made and tart enough to make his eyes water. I forwent the joy of my eyes watering too. We ventured to the war memorial, which was a little underwhelming, though we did like all of the historical war ads (Men! Join the clean plate club with your wives!).

From the museums we walked to the Historical Third Ward and did some shopping. He found an artist whose things he might purchase in the future and we “designed” two bathrooms and three kitchens. I like stainless steel accents, he prefers a warmer cozier look. Both of us like the idea of hidden fridges/dishwashers.

Then it was back to the hotel for a hat (coworker loaned me a Cubs cap for the trip) and to the shuttle. Out to the field and, loaded with beverages and hot dogs (later nachos) we took in the Cubs/Brewers game. Lots of fun with enthusiastic but not aggressive fans. A number of college student celebrating the end of finals. I did briefly wish I had some knitting with me but survived not having it. Despite the Cubbie loss we were able to go out and enjoy a couple of area bars.

Apparently neither of us were going to be able to sleep late on this mini-vacation, we were up and out early every day. First we took my car and headed north. I made him navigate to two yarn stores. He patiently accompanied me and we discussed the use of mohair as a fly-fishing tool, found some corn yarn that was pretty awesome, and debated different types of tools that I use for my craft. We also found a good bagel shop and I broke the “braces no bagels” rule. I’ve been good about following that directive but fresh bagels were not to be missed.

Then we got sort of turned around but managed to find our way to the Miller Brewing Company. We toured the factory, seeing just how many cases of beer they ship out each day. It was daunting to think of how much was shipped and consumed regularly from just that one location. Even more surprising: 40% of the products created there go directly and only to Chicago. I liked whatever they served us that had orange and coriander. Yes, I drink girly drinks.

We finished the day with dinner at Cafe La Scala. The food was excellent. And….we both overate on appetizers and salad and couldn’t make it through our meals.

Back to the hotel and the TS asked me to show him how to knit. We had a couple of hours lag time so I walked him through the basics. Unfortunately I only had one set of needles with me, so we had to go back and forth but he picked up on it pretty fast. I agreed to learn fly-tying next time.

And then we took his car out late to see the new Star Trek movie. Being as I was without computer, I’d called the Milwaukee Public Library for help on who was showing it where. We ended up at the Oriental Theater. Wow–what a theater!! (sorry the pics are blurry, they said pictures were okay if I didn’t use the flash) Huge, “theater” style rather than what I would think of movie style seating, red velvet curtain, 7′ Buddhas, elephants….

Oh, and the movie was pretty awesome too! If you like Star Trek at all, I’d recommend that you go see it. It pays tribute without being super cheesy or trying to be too much it’s own thing. And the cameo appearance elicited a couple of cheers.

Coming out of the theater we ran into people coming in for Rocky Horror, which was apparently being shown around 12 a.m. I could not convince the TS that we needed to stay for a late night double feature picture show, to have a toast, or do the time warp.

Sunday was breakfast and back to the Third Ward to hit the Public Market. I’d already loaded up on goodies from a local chocolatier but cheese and curds going home with the TS had to wait until we were ready to go. (No fridge in the hotel room). After Starbucks and watching many little ducklings swim around the river, we got on the road.

I made it home and promptly took a nap. Apparently he went by a Bass Pro shop on the way home.

We’re already making plans for next year.

One Eye Open…

The Tech Sergeant rang early enough this morning that I was not yet out of bed. As many of you know, this is not a disturbance I take lightly, particularly when I wake up sounding like a frog courtesy of spring allergies.

Fortunately, as I later noted, he’s on the short list of people who do not face full hedgehog wrath when I’m awoken in such a state. And if you have to ask, you’re not on the list. But in case you wondered what hedgehog wrath looks like, I share with you my bad drawing skills.

99 Things Meme….

Blame Walt…


Things you’ve already done: bold

Things you want to do: italicize

Things you haven’t done and don’t want to – leave in plain font

1. Started your own blog.

2. Slept under the stars.

3. Played in a band.

4. Visited Hawaii.

5. Watched a meteor shower.

6. Given more than you can afford to charity.

7. Been to Disneyland/world.

8. Climbed a mountain.

9. Held a praying mantis. (Albeit, usually inadvertently—there’s a BUG on me!!!)

10. Sang a solo.

Did full recitals and sang at least one solo for Chamber Singers 🙂

11. Bungee jumped.

12. Visited Paris.

13. Watched a lightning storm from sea

I have a hard enough time with lightning on land….

14. Taught yourself an art from scratch.

Someone else taught me to knit, write, bake….

15. Adopted a child.

16. Had food poisoning.

After a date no less….no more food from that French restaurant.

17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty.

They only reopened it shortly before I left….

18. Grown your own vegetables.

19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France.

20. Slept on an overnight train.

21. Had a pillow fight.

22. Hitch hiked.

23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill. (Called a mental health day for a reason)

24. Built a snow fort.

25. Held a lamb.

26. Gone skinny dipping.

27. Run a marathon.

28. Ridden a Gondola in Venice

29. Seen a total eclipse.

30. Watched a sunrise or sunset.

31. Hit a home run.

32. Been on a cruise.

33. Seen Niagara Falls in person.

34. Visited the birthplace of your ancestors.

35. Seen an Amish community.

36. Taught yourself a new language.

Does the ability to write in the Runic alphabet count?

37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied. (When the debt balance = 0)

38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person.

39. Gone rock climbing.

Does vaulting up rocks after the Tech Sergeant count?

40. Seen Michelangelo’s David in person.

41. Sung Karaoke.

42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt.

43. Bought a stranger a meal in a restaurant.

44. Visited Africa. (Maybe a trip to Egypt)

45. Walked on a beach by moonlight.

46. Been transported in an ambulance.

47. Had your portrait painted.

48. Gone deep sea fishing.

49. Seen the Sistine chapel in person.

50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris.

51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling.

This would be a bad idea—I don’t do the whole underwater thing well.

52. Kissed in the rain.

53. Played in the mud.

54. Gone to a drive-in theater. (Granted, I was about 5 at the time)

55. Been in a movie.

56. Visited the Great Wall of China.

57. Started a business.

58. Taken a martial arts class

59. Visited Russia.

60. Served at a soup kitchen.

61. Sold Girl Scout cookies.

62. Gone whale watching.

63. Gotten flowers for no reason.

64. Donated blood.

I’m not allowed for weight reasons.

65. Gone sky diving.

66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp.

67. Bounced a check.

68. Flown in a helicopter.

69. Saved a favorite childhood toy.

70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial.

71. Eaten Caviar.

72. Pieced a quilt.

73. Stood in Times Square.

74. Toured the Everglades.

75. Been fired from a job.

76. Seen the Changing of the Guard in London.

77. Broken a bone.

78. Been on a speeding motorcycle.

79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person.

80. Published a book.

81. Visited the Vatican.

82. Bought a brand new car.

83. Walked in Jerusalem.

84. Had your picture in the newspaper.

85. Read the entire Bible.

86. Visited the White House.

87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating.

88. Had chickenpox.

89. Saved someone’s life.

90. Sat on a jury.

91. Met someone famous. (Mandy Patinkin, Tony Bennett, Audra McDonald….)

92. Joined a book club.

93. Lost a loved one.

94. Had a baby.

95. Seen the Alamo in person.

96. Swum in the Great Salt Lake.

97. Been involved in a law suit. (Only insofar as who was getting custody of me)

98. Owned a cell phone.

99. Been stung by a bee.

Facing a Fresh Landscape

There’s a fresh layer of snow dusting over the older snow outside for the new year. While, if at all possible, I have absolutely no intention of leaving the building today, it is a good time for a bit of reflection and planning.

Last year was in two pretty distinct sections:
Before August
After August

Before August was mostly focused here in La Crosse and on work. I orchestrated our Knitting in Public Day, started a kids knitting group, went to PLA, did summer reading in La Crosse, worked on my databases and went to Sibling-the-Younger’s graduation. I went on two different yarn diets. I made one flying trip out to New York and a couple down to Chicago to hang out with the Kickers and AudioGirl, but beyond that it was a pretty mellow spring.

And then August hit. My immediate supervisor retired, I flew to New York for a wedding shower and then flew out to Colorado to spend a week with the Tech Sergeant. I came back, drove to the Incredibly-Patient-Mother’s for a dress alteration, flew back to New York for a wedding, took on the care and feeding of the chapter book collection, went back to Chicago and caught up with a lot of people I see only sporadically. I started NaNoWriMo though I didn’t finish, got braces, and cut a foot off my hair. I flew to Atlanta and bought a tea and coffee pot, knitted until my hands nearly fell off, and went back to the Incredibly-Patient-Mother’s for a week at the holidays.

This year lies before me with a lot of potential. Certainly today is not all that different from yesterday but with a new January ahead of me, there seems to be many fresh options.

Goals for 2009:
1) Use things — I have tea, yarn, books…so many things that are here waiting for me. When they start feeling like clutter rather than things I enjoy, it’s time to use up or get rid of rather than hold on indefinitely.
2) Knit for myself. I talk a lot about knitting but almost always it’s for other people. Call it selfish but I want some warm woolly things for me.
3) Write for more than just my blog audience. I need a better collection of rejection emails and letters and possibly some acceptances too.
4) Scrapbook old papers. Not the incredibly matted, decorated, and beribboned, just the “here’s a paper, here’s something from junior high” with some notes on the side about why I kept it.
5) Survive braces….20 months to go.
6) Get my books into LibraryThing.

I wish you big and conquerable goals in 2009 and good health for the new year. With hugs, best wishes and a clean but already filling calendar,

Happy 2009

Holiday Wool….

The more I knit, the more ideas I get of things I should knit for people for Christmas. So then I cast those projects on and think of more things. It’s a loop that is set to run right up until around 6 p.m. Christmas day–when I’ll probably have seen all of the people who are receiving Christmas knits. At which point I’ll have to start after-Christmas knits (maybe some stuff for me?) because a) I live in freezing Wisconsin and b) my hands will be so used to constantly knitting that I’ll have to work on something to maintain my sanity.

No, unfortunately I’m not joking. I knitted pretty much non-stop last year in December and by the time I finished the holiday projects I was quite literally unable to just sit and converse. Fortunately, the Incredibly Patient Mother had some knitting tucked away that I could work on to keep from just sitting in a very fidgety manner.

Things to note: I never want to knit another pair of gloves ever again in my entire life. Sibling-the-Younger requested a pair and while this was a first from a family member (knitted request), I don’t think I’ll be doing more of these any time soon. I can do a pair of fingerless mitts in about 8 hours. With fingers nearly doubles the time and I had 9 double pointed knitting needles in one glove at one point.

I am trying a new pattern for a number of gifts this year: Turn a Square by Jared Flood. Jared’s patterns have been received with high acclaim and this one is pretty addictive. Of course, I did have to come in this morning with one of the finished products and track down a couple of male coworkers to double check size but I certainly would recommend this pattern! The rest of the knitting world is doing the Noro scarf (again, Jared Flood) — I’m making hats. Hey, they only take 3-4 hours. Another coworker seemed stunned when I mentioned how long they take to make. Yes, there’s time involved, which is why I’m knitting mostly for people I am closely related to. But it’s four hours of time at home, with an audiobook or a movie or a friend on the phone. When I finally catch up with the Tech Sergeant, it’s good to be able to sit down and knit something moderately mindless while I’m hearing all the details.

So, that’s my plan for December. Me and the wool.