I don't know what to say. We are so lucky. When I answered the ad I saw in the paper for a standard poodle...I had no idea we would be bringing home the best dog in the world...but it looks like that's the case. Our guy Ziggy is the coolest. I find myself using words like delightful...and precious when I describe him...and if you know me...that's sorta out of character. But I can't help it. Ziggy is an absolute joy to have around. He's only six months old, but he's so well behaved and smart. He's turned into our best pal. He and I hang out doing yard work. He follows me everywhere. Even though he's almost fifty pounds...and stands two and a half feet at the shoulders already, we can take him everywhere...and do. He loves people, and other animals for that matter. What are the odds! I'm taking him to get his holiday haircut, so when people see him over the holiday, he'll look his best. He's very particular about his appearance. Do I sound obsessed? Well if I do, I'm not alone...my wife Terri's in love with Ziggy, too. Happy Holidays from Bob, Terri, B.J., Lizzy and Ziggy!
The tradition continues! Terri and the kids and I have for years, like many other families, jumped in the truck during the holiday season at some point, and went stomping around some field, sometimes in knee-deep snow, to find our Christmas tree. I always wondered how long everybody would maintain their enthusiasm. Well, I guess I can keep wondering for a while yet. The plan for the great holiday chop-your-own excursion for this year is set. Sunday morning. The coolest part of this is all involved are fired up about the prospect! I am so lucky to have a wife and kids that are so cool and down-to-earth and not willing to let our little family tradition fade away. Yeah, it would be easier just to go to some tree lot and pick out an already-cut tree, but that wouldn't be half as fun. I mean, we all love the holidays, and each other's company, so RIGHT ON! (I'm on a campaign to bring that saying back). So Sunday morning. off we go. To get a tree, look at some captive reindeer, drink lukewarm "hot" apple cider, and kick off the Christmas holiday season officially at the old ranchero. And as if on cue...gonna be a little bit of snow on Sunday morning. Nice!
Well, we have had an interesting five weeks or so. We got one of the worst phone calls a parent can get. "Your daughter has been involved in an accident, and she has been injured." Oh no. Lizzy was involved in an accident...she was on her moped, and a car turned in front of her. The doctors told us at emergency that she had a broken femur...you know, the big bone in your leg. The first thing that struck me, though, was her face. One eye swollen shut...black and blue from her forehead to the tip of her chin. She came to our house so we could take care of her. I have to tell you...this is one tough woman. All the pain she has had to endure would have knocked me out. It'll be a long road back...but she's working on it. We are so grateful that we can take care of her, given the alternatives.
We said we would not be getting another dog after we had to say goodbye to our 14-year-old Golden Retriever "Katie", but...Terri and I decided the house was empty without a big dog ambling around the place, so we brought home a pup. Ziggy is a five-month-old Standard Poodle. No, he not one of those puff-ball poodles you see in the kennel club shows, to the contrary, he's a real person's kind of poodle. We named him Ziggy because he has a striking resemblance to one of our fav Reggae guys...Ziggy Marley. Sort of a Rasta dog mon'. He's great. Smart, and really loves to please. Accidents have been minimal, and that is nice. He and I have become fast friends in the two weeks we've had him. A real companion! Terri really digs him, too. We are planning to take him to Kegonsa this weekend to see how he reacts to the lake.
Can't wait. It's good to have the aroma of a wet dog wafting around the house again. I really missed that. It completes me.
I was finding it hard to believe that the summer had come and gone already, but now I'm sure of it. I always know that fall is officially here when it's time to go to Quivey's Grove for the coolest little beer festival of the year. Here it is again. Cool with me. Drinking different beers from teeny tiny glasses...on a beautiful autumn afternoon. What could be better. This year though...it'll be like a summer party! Shorts...t-shirts and sunglasses. Awesome.
Mother Nature can be cruel. I, like many other gardeners in our neck of the woods, watched all our tomato and pepper plants bite the dust last weekend, when that frost showed up Saturday night. Crummy deal considering what we're seeing right now. Man, I would have been canning till November. Oh well, enough is enough anyway. Fun while it lasted.
Trying to help Lizzy look for a new (used) car. Her old car must be replaced by winter, so she and I have been on an almost daily hunt around the city for a vehicle she can rely on. This process makes me so nervous. I mean...just because I am a man, does not mean that I have some sort of mechanical gene that gives me an innate sense of what is a good car worth buying, and what isn't. I am giving it a good try though. Here's hoping we find something decent that fits into her budget.
We celebrated BJ's 26th birthday this week. Enjoyed a nice get together and a great meal at El Dorado Grill. Lots of fun. We all hiked over to the Come Back Inn after dinner for drinks. I really dig that guy. He's such a unique guy. Proud of him. It's weird to have drinks with all of those 'kids' he grew up with. I've known most of them since they were all middle schoolers. A great group of people.
I would be remiss in not acknowledging the 10th anniversary of the 9-11 attacks this weekend. Such a tragedy. What really adds insult to injury is the fact that even now the threat of yet another attack looms over the cities of New York and Washington D.C. Makes you wonder where this all ends...or if it ever will. Regardless, I'll take time this weekend to remember all those souls who died in those sense acts of violence and hatred.
Okay, made it through another round of moving my kids. This used to be easier, so I'm hoping everybody is settled in a place where they'll stay for a while. I mean, I love my kids dearly and would do anything for them, but hefting boxes and couches down or up narrow stairways is really not really top of my list of favorite ways to spend a weekend. Funny how it always goes from "Hey Dad, can I borrow your truck", to "just put that box in my bedroom." I never even see it coming. All on all, I wouldn't trade it. Lizzy got a moped. Never ridden one of these things, very cool! She bought in from a person in Cottage Grove, so it came to my house before the big move. Got to take it on a bunch of fun little jaunts and one long one...I drove it to Lizzy's house in downtown Madison from my house in Cottage Grove. What a cool thing. Sips gas to boot.
Okay, I surrender. I've been doing battle with those plant-wrecking...green devils...Japanese beetles for the past month...and I'm losing the war. They apparently want my Dahlias bad, and will stop at nothing to suck the life out of the blooms. No sooner do they open than the marauding horde from the east turn them into crispy, icky brown, shells of their former selves. It's terribly disheartening. I have been spraying them with this tobacco juice, dish soap, mouthwash concoction I whipped up. It works, at least I think it does. They writhe around like mini green serpents when they get sprayed with it, but an hour later the doggone blooms are crawling with them again. So today I am officially raising the white flag. If they want those #!*#% Dahlias that bad, they can have them. And I hope they choke on them. I REALLY do!
Can this be right?!!!! It's August? Hold on, I'm not ready for summer to wane just yet. I hate to admit this...but I haven't rode my bike but a couple of times yet. Seems like whenever there's time...it's just been too hot! Luckily we been working the kayaks pretty hard this summer. I really recommend going up to Lake Delton for a weekend. Paddle the lake one day, and then do a trip down the Wisconsin River the next. You know all those cool rock formations they show you on all the boat tours? I gotta tell you, they look even cooler up close. In fact you can kayak right through many of them. Awesome. We are all so lucky to live in this area. So much beautiful stuff to see and do just minutes away.
Aah yes. I love the fast-paced hustle and bustle of the radio news business. The deadline pressure, the constant need to assimilate and relate changing information that flows like water on the day's events. Yes...there is little that I like better...except taking a break from it once in a while. Staying close to home this beak. No big adventurous extravaganza planned. Slow and easy for a couple of days. Necessary and welcome. That little 'low battery' light has been flashing in the back of my mind for a while now. You can relate, I'm sure. Now I just have to convince myself that vacations are for R and R and stay out of my gardens. We'll see how long that lasts.
Well. it was nice while it lasted. For most of the first part of our warm season here I have been working in my garden sans bug spray, but that's all over now. Like magic, the mosquitoes decided it was brunch time and are now pretty rough. I just hate that smell of the always-necessary spritz of repellent. Lord help you if you happen to get any of it in your mouth. Ick! Small price to pay, I guess. The garden though is cooking. The zucchini is starting to come into it's own....and I'm sure that soon I'll have the same feeling about it as I did about the asparagus by the end of May. I love being able to go out, grab what I need...an onion, a pepper, some cabbage or lettuce....and whip up dinner. I'll never get over that. Plus, fresh is where it's at in my book.
We gave Lizzy (my now 23 year-old-daughter) a kayak for her birthday. We knew it would be a great gift given her new penchant for fitness. So Sunday, we all decided to head to Cherokee Marsh and paddle around. The marsh is an awesome paddle opportunity, just minutes away from anywhere in Madison. Great day! We paddled over to the Nautigal for apps and a drink. I swear that place has the feel of a far-off resort on a hot summer day, when you are sitting out on the deck looking out over the channel. It really is one of my fav summer spots in Madison. I do have about forty others, though, but we try and do that Nautigal thing more than once during the season. Food is always good, too. Lizzy loved her new boat. It's fire-engine red and she looks cool in it.
We have come to the point of the year, when I am sick of eating asparagus every meal, but my patch keeps pumping it out. We always try to figure out the best way to capture that spring time delicacy to enjoy when the weather is cold and the prices are high. One of my favorite
ways to keep the asparagus we grow...is to pickle it. It's awesome as a snack, or out-of-bounds in a Sunday morning Bloody! It's so good. Just some vinegar, pickling spices, a touch of sugar, a healthy slice of onion and a jalapeno...and baby, you're living.
We had to say goodbye to our old pal Katie last week. She was our 14 year-old Golden Retriever. Her health went downhill quick in the past six months, I mean after all, she was almost 100 years old in people years. She left us on a beautiful sunny spring afternoon, following a day of hanging out in the yard with us. She even made the effort to walk around, sniffing and exploring for a last time. It was about as nice as that day was going to be, because even though she was getting so feeble, it was still awful to let her go. We'll all miss her terribly, but she had a great run. She left us on the same yard she played on...hunted on...napped on and kept watch over...all of her life. So long Katie.
There are times, frankly, when I really miss not having our kids at home...but then there are other times when it's a good thing. One of those times is Easter. Thank goodness there aren't all those jelly beans, peeps and chocolate bunnies laying around for weeks. Believe me...after this winter, I don't need the calories! Got to get to it here soon.
Went to Bluephies for brunch Easter Sunday. Try that avocado scrambler...geez, is that a winner. I actually got full and couldn't finish. Not a common occurrence for me. If it's really good, I somehow manage to find the room.
Spent the rest of the day getting the garden ready for prime time. It sure is coming slowly this year. I wish it would warm up some. It's really been too cold for much to germinate. I have some spinach and lettuce starting to come...but all the other cool weather stuff isn't peeking through yet.
First off, congratulations to the electorate of Madison, Dane County and Wisconsin. Regardless of whether your candidate won or lost on Tuesday, it is certainly heartening to know the spirit of public participation in the electoral process is making a comeback here in our area, as well as the state of Wisconsin in general. Turnout for the spring elections statewide was in the 33 percent range…nearly fifty percent in Dane County and, in Madison proper, it flirted with 55 percent. These numbers are almost unheard of in any recent election, much less in a non-presidential year spring election.
When the framers of the constitution sat down to create a more perfect union, I’m sure it was this level of participation, or even greater, that they had in mind. In recent decades, voters across the U.S., and sadly, in our own state, became increasingly complacent, or more accurately apathetic, to the world of politics and the role we all can and should play. But inexplicably, during that period of participatory decline, the sniping and grousing about leadership displayed locally, and in Washington, had also been increasing incrementally. The problem with that scenario; if you don’t vote, you really have no right to gripe.
But on Tuesday what we saw was a representation of how a truly motivated electorate, with strong opinions about the current state-of-affairs, can and should behave in the democratic process. Bravo!
If you ever get some extra time, take the short trip down to New Glarus and check out the new brewery there. It is a very cool, state-of-the-art set up. The people are really nice and they are more than happy to answer questions for you if they have the time. Plus at the end of the tour, you can sample the great brews New Glarus is putting out! Terri and I and our friends, Tom and Cheryl, did the tour last weekend. Before the tour, we stopped in Paoli and had lunch at the School House Shops restaurant. Really good lunch...in fact, awesome! After the tour at New Glarus...we figured what the heck and headed down to Monroe...Amy Hudson country...and took the tour at Minhas Brewery. Fun day! You really don't have to travel far to have a great time in this area. Day trips are so cool.
Icky days at my house lately. I fear...in fact I know...we are watching my dog Katie's last days. This is tough. She has been with us for all of her 14 years. We watched her go from a hyperactive pup...to a hyperactive middle aged dog...to now...a gramma dog. I have to help her upstairs now most days...and because she is still a robust 80 pound girl...that is no easy feat. Every time I set her down after helping her do things she always did by herself...she gives me a certain look. I can see in her eyes that she's grateful for the help...but she seems a little embarrassed. I believe she knows the score. I mean, this is a dog that used to literally spend hours chasing the kids on the ATV at 20 mph out in the field. She loved it! Chewed the fenders right off the machine. Something I didn't appreciate at the time. It was all great sport to her. I take solace in the fact that she's had a great life. She'll breathe her last at the same house where she spent her entire life. Not many of us can say that. Can't say she didn't frustrate me over the years...but man, what I wouldn't give for a chewed-up shoe...to have a defrosting roast go missing off the counter...or any of that puppy stuff.
Hats off to the U.W. Theater Department. We went to their "Rocky Horror Picture Show" Friday night...and it was great! Super cast and a very cool set. I've seen "Rocky" a couple of times...once when B.J. played Riff Raff...and it never gets old...I really dig it. LET'S DO
THE TIME WARP AGAIN!!!!!!
My sister Connie and brother-in-law Andy came into town this weekend. Andy won some tickets for Badger Hockey...so Saturday we went to watch Bucky take out Colorado College. Man, the Kohl Center is an awesome place. Like I said, Andy won these tickets, so we were a bit removed from the action, but really there are very few bad seats so it was very cool. The fact that Andy's prize package included coupons for free hotdogs and drinks made for a very festive evening. Good to see those guys. We just don't get together enough.
Finally...after what seems like months of deep freeze, a break this weekend. Problem is, above freezing temperatures will probably eat away at the amazing snow cover we have right now around the tri-county area. It's been just too cold to go snowmobiling much during the last week...even though the snow is mostly knee-deep in the fields. So it's time to hit it hard, before they close the trails again. B.J and I went last weekend, had some good fun. Gotta get Liz out there yet. Speaking of Liz. Props to her. She's doing that workout program...P90X, something some Marine came up with, and it's no hocus pocus. She's been at it for a couple of weeks now, and progress is evident. She'll be ripped in no time. Good for you girl! By the by, check out the corn meal encrusted catfish sandwich at Brickhouse B-B-Q...awesome.
This is that weekend in January...when there is precious little to do. Did our Restaurant Week thing already so sort of at a loss for activity. I hope Terri comes up with something, or the highlight of my weekend may end up being the Pro Bowl. Good Lord! Have you checked out the new Great Dane off Cottage Grove Road...you know up on the hill where Cloud Nine used to be. Great food, fresh brewed beer...awesome! It's cool. They are doing it right at the Dane. Congrats on your new location.
I can tell it's truly the "dead of winter" for other reasons than just the obvious. I am about to use the last onion I harvested from my garden all those months ago. Don't like that, but it was inevitable. Store-bought onions for some reason don't seem as good, even though they probably are. Yep, it's gonna be a long cold...onion-less haul from now to spring.
Our golden Katie is starting to look her age. She is 98 in dog years now, and really is starting to look, and act, like a gramma dog. It's pretty apparent she isn't digging the cold much. She stays in the house most of the time, and will just look at you like you're nuts when asked if she wants to go out. Could be because her hearing isn't what it used to be, but more probably because she's smart and would rather stay curled up on the rug in front of the door. Good old girl!