Friday, June 29, 2007

Farmer's Markets

Go to them! I now go every Wednesday morning to one almost in my backyard. It's fantastic.
And read the one hardcover that Witty bought while semi-unemployed (Animal, Vegetable, Miracle) - it totally changes your outlook and mindset about food.

And I'm only halfway through!

Farmer's Markets, no matter where you are, are wonderful and I'm thankful that I have the opportunity to go to one every week.

Monona Wife Carry

I am better at posting about things that I am going to do rather than things I have done.

On July 4, we are going to the Monona Festival. Being that I now live in Monona, and it is within walking distance of my house, I am feeling very good about this. proud even.

One of the most exciting events planned: the Wife Carry.

She hangs upside down and holds on to his waist. He jumps over stuff and wades through water.

I can't wait until I get married.

If you get a chance, read the rules, they are very cute.

In an odd coincidence, Wife Carry began in Finland.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Scenes from a Finnish Solstice

The Finnish Solstice party was last weekend.
We pumped it up on this blog. Honestly, I pumped it up in my head too.
It had to be good, right? Yep, it was.

Some images/memories that make me smile:
  • 7-8 - Men's time in the Sauna (pronounced over the loudspeaker "Sow nah") - Attention folks, it is now 7pm and Men's time in the Sow-nah - after you come out there is a private screened porch and you can use the hose to cool off. at 8pm it will be women's time in the Sow-nah.

  • we didn't stay for it, but 10-11 couples Sow-Nah time was highly anticipated.

  • My favorite folks in the group to talk about other party attendees with: D and B (that should be me in the vacant chair in the background.

  • At least four of those catty comments centered on the woman with the teal wide collared shirt without a bra who liked to lean over and stretch her arms backward. At the latter D had to make a choking sound to cover his... well, not sure what he was covering...

  • Seemingly from the picture, D's first encounter with an apple tree:

  • The Morris Dancers doing fertility routines. That is Fertility herself in the pink dress in the middle:

  • And my favorite. The woman who brought the party. Can you see it? (click on the picture for an enlargement if you can't)

yes folks, that is right, your eyes are not deceiving you. That is a 40oz can of Natural Light with her. Another 40oz can made an appearance next to a crockpot in the chow line, but I failed to get the picture.

Long Live the Finns! They really know how to throw a party.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

Concerts on the Square

They are my favorite summer Madison event. 'Nuf said.

Friday, June 22, 2007

Fat Far

So, this is probably the most Wisconsin thing I'm going to do all summer so I suppose I should blog about it, eh?

Last weekend was Fat Far (happens every year on Father's Day, so sorry to the shafted Dads). People get together with friends and copious amounts of beer and float down a river on rented inner tubes or on various home-made contraptions (that usually sink, may I add). Floating down a river sounds relaxing, right?

It's not. But what it *is* is fun.

First off, you have to drive up there then coordinate everything, and get all the tubes and coolers and cars and friends in the right spot. Then you gotta get everything in the river and tied all up together. Then you gotta hide from people flinging water ballons and such. Of course there's the general yelling and flirting with random radio DJs (uhm.......not like I actually did that.....*ahem*). And then, as a bonus from last year, there was jumping-off-a-large-rock-outcropping which was 100% r0><0r (sorry, random l33t speak).

You start out at a bar (called Loopy's which amuses me) then take a bus up to the drop-off point and set off. It takes 2-3 hours to let the current carry you back down to the bar where you can pull out of the water and hang out on shore. Then we went back to the hotel and screwed around in the pool for a while, had the best pizza hut pizza EVAR (we had missed lunch.......maybe that's why 3 beers made me loopy on the river) and then went to bed at a fairly reasonable time in the most artic-like hotel room I've ever been in.

The fabulous part is that I particpated in the rock-jumping, got a tan (ok, a burn, but it's turning into a tan) so I'm not so "Wisconsin White" anymore, and plus I just looked fab in my new camo and gold chain bikini :)

Now this weekend it's off to the Finnish Solstice party, the weekend after that is a 4th of July celebration (read - campfire and beer), then comes the Second Annual Deep Fry Party, then it's the WI River canoe trip, then...........well, then maybe I'll have a weekend to rest.


Or perhaps I'll organize a lets-go-downtown-and-raise-hell outing that weekend instead :)

Thursday, June 21, 2007

Finnish Solstice party

ooooo. Solstice.
when the day is the longest. oooooo.

how do you celebrate?

Frogs, Kitty and Lucia are rolling Finnish this year. We are going to a Finnish potluck bonfire.
yeah, totally random, I know.
leave it to Frogs to find this sort of craziness.

We are bringing beer (I am going to need some if some hippie chick is going to dance topless around the bonfire) and I think that Frogs is going to whip something up. I might make something or I might not. who knows.

the Finnish part has me thinking - what should I wear? What is the typical Finnish costume?
Well, I thought that was a good idea. then I googled it.
I am not wearing this:

for more information (a very informative site) on traditional Finnish Folk and Cultural costumes:

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

Fabulous things to do in Chicago did I mention shopping?

Monday, June 11, 2007

3 bands + 2 festivals = blissful summer weekend

Fabulous weekend! For absolutely free, I saw three fabulous, danceable Latin bands at two great festivals in 24 hours. All seasoned heavily with good food, good company, and good beer.

Friday night: El Clan Destino at the Memorial Union Terrace for the Isthmus Jazz Festival. The Terrace was crowded, but the band was good (a little more smooth, less salsa-y than Madisalsa). The beer and laughing and sunset over Picnic Point were even better.

Saturday afternoon: Locos por Juana at the Marquette Waterfront Festival in Yahara Place Park. Fabulous music - a whole lot of Cuba with a heavy splash of Jamaica. (Sounds like a good theme for a fruity drink, too, no?) Great Latin dance sounds with a whole lot of reggae thrown in. And what a great atmosphere - families hanging out on blankets and lawn chairs, good food, boats on Lake Monona pulling up to shore to listen, and, the highlight: a 40-something woman wearing a short Hawaiian print sarong, a bikini top with a different Hawaiian print, and a tiara, dancing for all she was worth.

Saturday night: Back to the Union for Madisalsa. They don't seem all that jazzy to me - more straight up big-band salsa y merengue, but I'm not one to argue. They're really good, and there were so many people dancing it was hard to walk.

So many festivals, so little time!

Thursday, June 7, 2007

Farmers' Market Foraging Dinners

This may be one of the most intensely fabulous summer things I've heard of yet. Combines several of my very favorite things: farmers' markets, seasonal food, creative cooking, and good eating. You meet at the farmers' market Saturday morning to shop and learn about buying what's in season, and then meet that night to eat dinner made almost entirely with those ingredients. I'm definitely doing this sometime this summer. Who's in?

Wednesday, June 6, 2007

I Heart Water

Rent a canoe. Spend an afternoon on the lake. It's that simple.

Loud's birthday dinner

So, I believe that at Loud's birthday dinner, Lucia and I decided to post about the dinner we had, but I promptly forget which part of the resturant I was supposed to comment on. So I'm going to comment on everything :P

We went to Sardine's, which is FAB-U-LOUS. Go there and have dinner if you haven't yet, it was so good.

The main standout was a salad with duck meat and a poached egg on top (I forget the name of it - warm duck confit salad I believe). It's amazing! Whatever dressing/vinagrette they put on it makes it completely wonderful.

We also had a goat cheese appetizer which was good, and I had my first raw oyster. Amazing that I come from the east coast and eat my first east coast oyster in WI. It's pretty good, but I think only because the liquid stuff is really salty so you taste that instead of the oyster.....and I like salt. It's not very shellfish-ish.

Then I had the grilled trout. Decent, if a little dry for my taste.

For desert I think I was the only person who liked the grapefruit sorbet. I couldn't eat a whole bunch of it, but I loved that it was way tart.

The restuarant itself was cute - very open, but yet you didn't feel like you were eavesdropping on other diners. The bar was long and one whole wall is windows that looks out onto a small veranda and then the lake. The fiancé and I decided that one day we'll have to get reservations for a spot out there. Maybe when it gets warmer, since I'm always freaking cold.
Then we went to the Ivory Room. It's a piano bar, and while the woman who sings isn't fantabulous, the guy is great and the place is just cute. I loved it.

That inspired us to then head to the Kareoke Kid, where Hillary and I sang "Hanky Panky", just like old times.

It was, all in all, one of the most fun nights I've had in a while. I'm looking forward to 11frogs' birthday dinner, then that weekend is Fat Far up in Chippeawa Falls (I know I didn't spell that right). Basically, 6 of us will spend all of Father's Day floating down a river in inner tubes and drinking beer. Seeing as how that is totally Wisconsin, you can bet I'll be posting about that afterwards.

Kalahari Dreaming

The Kalahari is a massive resort/convention center in Wisconsin Dells. When I signed up for the Charter Bundle pack (basically meaning that I pay over a hundred dollars a month to a company that I don't really like and receive services that often fail) I got a free night at Kalahari. This offer was for certain nights, and those nights were up on June 7. So, I had to get this in at some point.

True to form, I called about seven days before this deal concluded, but unlike normal proceedings, they still had room. cool.

On Monday, my mother and I drive up to the Dells using my new book:

Side Review of this book:

  1. it is chock full of fun drives through Wisconsin. This is true.
  2. Don't go backwards on the drives. The directions are NOT designed for it. You will find yourself sitting at an intersection and reading the directions, then mentally pretending that you are actually traveling down the road that you are trying to get onto and then turning onto the one that you are currently on. Does this sound confusing enough? Right!
  3. Neither my mother nor I are convinced that the directions would be good enough frontwards either.
  4. I encourage you to pursue these drives on a weekday, preferably in the middle of the day. This will lessen the pressure from other motorists who don't understand why the fact that the three conflicting signs to Durfey's Glen at this intersection are confusing you.

One quarter of the recommended drive takes us two hours and includes a stop at Kristina's Restaurant in Baraboo. Recommendation, go ahead and skip Kristina's on your next trip to the Boo.

It is at Kristina's that we choose to detour directly to the Dells. We want to get cracking on all that Dells goodness. First on our list, a drive through town pointing out the ridiculous. The Trojan Horse roller coaster, the Paul Bunyan Flapjack outlet, and many giant fiberglass animals are spotted.

Second, the Upper Dells boat tour. We take the bus to the launching point with a family from Missouri that can't believe the river freezes over. ha! we drive pickups on our lakes in Wisconsin! Overall, the boat tour is good. Far better than an ill fated Colorado River boat trip my mother and I once took. I was in charge of the good camera. I took at least 200 pictures, most of which look exactly like all of the other ones. One highlight:

After the tour we had to walk up the World's Steepest over the Longest Distance Ramp. If I had been pushing my grandmother up that ramp we wouldn't have made it. That sort of defeats the purpose of the ramp, right?

To cheer ourselves up after the ramp, we had a couple beers and chips at Mexicali Rose. Word on the street is that their margaritas are good, but food not so much. I will not pass judgment here though and let someone from this site go there and do a proper review.

Fortified, we head to the hotel complex. Several U-turns later we arrive. My mother compares it to the Opryland hotel. I don't know about that comparison, but I do find it funny that she has stayed at the Opryland hotel. The lobby is pretty cool. My best comparison is a Las Vegas hotel- lite. It has a theme and they really do their best to carry that theme throughout. Like real safari guides, the check-in people wear safari style jackets, but overall seem woefully ill-equiped to defend guests from a stampeding herd of water buffalo. Speaking of the wildlife, around every bend/staircase/elevator bank is a resin elephant, zebra or giraffe. There is even a super pathetic robotic talking rhino. We got real excited and pushed his button, but it was so bad that it made me think of how they are all going to die and I had to walk away to avoid crying.

The room - uninspiring. We did have a view of the parking lot, a microwave/refrigerator, and a full size coffeepot.

The indoor waterpark - pretty cool. very big. America's Largest, if you believe what they say. We did the lazy river. I wanted to do the bowl ride, you literally drop out of the bottom into a deep pool, but I was chicken.

The restaurants - one was filled with the screaming of children and we walked out, but ate rather in the lobby bar. The food was decent. Their gin martini was delicious (two big olives).

The next morning it was more of The Backwards Navigation Challenge. This time I tried navigating the route back to Sauk City backwards from Mr Knowles' directions. This proved just as challenging as my mother had claimed yesterday, but this time I belived her.

And, just as we had on the way to the Dells, we hit the Madison rush hour traffic through the construction on the beltline. ah, home sweet home.