Sunday, June 24, 2012

Northwoods Macabre

My husband and I just returned from the Hayward/Cable, WI area where we were celebrating our 5th wedding anniversary. We stayed at the Garmisch Resort which has an impressive lodge and grounds but an even more impressive wall of dead things. I grew up in the Northwoods of Wisconsin and am very familiar with people and businesses that like to accessorize their personal and public spaces with skillfully prepared and energetically posed animals that have long since gone on to their eternal rest. Not my particular style but I will concede it does lend a lodge or bar the proper air of sport and leisure that goes hand in hand with a retreat up North.

It rained on and off on Saturday which didn't stop us from going to the Musky Festival in Hayward but it did prompt us to finally stop in at Cable's new Natural History Museum. There was a volunteer on hand and so we were allowed into the collections room which houses all of the things not currently on public display. I was equally fascinated and queazy with all of the stuffed birds, flattened bears and pinned bugs. I forgot my camera and had to use the iPad which is why the quality this week is so crummy. That's right, crummy.

While at Musky Fest we had to stop in at the Moccasin Bar to take a picture of a very large Musky for one of my husbands co-workers. What a bunch of geologists are doing sitting around and talking about record-breaking muskies, I just don't know, especially since my husband doesn't fish. Anyway, the Moccasin Bar is home to the world-record musky and a whole lot of other taxidermy. It was an impressive collection arranged and stacked 3-4 high in aquarium-like cases against the walls and above the windows. Personally, I found these little anthropomorphous fabricated scenes equally enthralling and disturbing. Whenever I see odd taxidermy like this it reminds me of the family dog in John Irving's Hotel New Hampshire, you know, unnatural and yet somehow funny.

I'm off to nurse the sunburn I acquired this afternoon paddling down the Namakagon on what was supposed to be a totally cloud filled morning.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Sweet Home Chicago

We just returned home from a weekend in Chicago where we went to a couple of street fairs, took care of some business and attended a wedding. It was so very, very hot there and we did a lot of walking on that steamy pavement squinting into that unrelenting sun. Because I was traveling today I prepared a post that was supposed to go live on a sort of timer this morning. Well, clearly that didn't happen and so here it is, Monday evening after a long weekend in the City of Broad Shoulders.

One thing I miss about the last neighborhood I lived in before my husband and I moved is all of the exploring that could be done in the little groceries on my walk home. We stopped into one on Sunday and I really wanted to buy this jar of honey covered nuts, it's just so beautiful, and probably pretty tasty too. I'm thinking it would be pretty good on some vanilla ice cream.

I didn't even realize how much I missed reading the paper on the train. I would grab a Red Eye every morning and a Reader whenever a new one hit to read on the el. Both papers are the perfect size for train reading and I LOVE the Readers new look.

I often took river path short cuts around the city and somehow never noticed that these were painted like this. Why can't I think of what these are called? Clever branding, Chicago.

Is it weird that I miss the pigeons and gulls? Maybe it's because I never had one poop on my head like so many people I know have had happen.
This is an installation in the Merchandise Mart for NeoCon which we missed by a week, it would have been fun to walk it.

Does this post sound discombobulated? Because I'm feeling pretty discombobulated.

Monday, June 11, 2012


What a lovely hot weekend it was and how lovely that last night's storm brought in a nice chill, I have the door propped open trying to usher some of that nice cool air into the house right now.

A lazy weekend watching busy bugs, I saw the most beautiful rubine red ladybug on the dock as I was slowly making my way into the water. It was a long process getting into that cold water, I think this is the earliest I've gone swimming in a Northern Wisconsin lake since I taught swimming at Camp Deerhorn during my college summers.

Sunday, June 3, 2012

Busy, Busy

Little has been as tedious and time consuming as reformatting my books for the Apple iBooks store and my semi-successful foray into creating Apps. Thankfully I'm on the home stretch with all of that busy work and I was finally able to get some long overdue backlog work off of my desk this weekend.
I can actually see a stretch of time in my future where I'll be able to put some serious time into my new book about a peculiar horse. I would say I'm about half way through the rough draft of the story, I can't wait to find out how it ends!

Of course, because I just can't help it, I'm also rewriting Eleven Odd Mushrooms to be longer with more detailed illustrations.

I'm also working on an outline for another new book at the same time as all of this and it's possible that this one could be the third Happy the Hodag book. I'm not toying with you, I'm just not sure what it wants to be yet. I'm sure it will tell me soon and I'll let you know.