photo from here
One of the best parts of my trip last week was canoeing down the Brule River. I was nervous about tipping my canoe so I didn’t bring my camera with me, (no I didn’t tip, and yes I kicked myself the whole time for not being able to take photos) but it looked exactly like this.
After the canoe trip we had a social event at a private lodge. The Nature Conservancy and local landowners have worked together to protect 90% of the land along the river and the landowners invited us to a little party so we could meet in person and share our mutual gratitude for preserving such a special place.
The landowner who organized the party had just celebrated his daughter’s wedding five days before and she and her husband were there, as were several Irish wedding guests enjoying the north woods. (The groom was Irish and the couple live in Dublin.) Of course, they all were still talking about the wedding and it sounded amazing – it was held right on the Brule River. Not on the banks of the river, actually on the river!
All of the guests traveled to the ceremony spot by canoe with the bride and her father coming last. When they came around the river bend and appeared in view of the guests, she stood up in the back of the canoe in her wedding dress and glided down the water toward her groom. The two of them and their officiant climbed onto a rock on a small island and said their vows in bare feet, while the guests watched from below in their canoes. Everyone I talked to who was there said it was simply magical.
Meeting this family and hearing this story reminded me that we all have places in this world that are magical to us. It’s so inspiring to spend time with people who are committed to keeping them that way.
A couple of weekends ago we went to visit Matt’s Dad, who lives about an hour from us, and on our way home stopped at one of my all-time favorite Wisconsin places for cheeseburgers and chocolate shakes.
The Kiltie is a classic drive-up restaurant where you’re waited on by girls in kilts (naturally) who take your order and bring the food out to your car on a tray that attaches to your window. Matteo was pretty antsy so we took our food over to one of their outdoor picnic tables to eat. OMG was it good.
I spent the last three days in up northwestern Wisconsin, on Lake Superior, for work. The weather was gorgeous, we canoed the Brule River and visited an island in the St. Louis River Estuary by tour boat, and had dinner one night in a beautiful old mansion that was built by a lumber baron in the late 1800′s. The opportunity to spend time outdoors with people who are passionate about the land and water we help protect is one of my favorite parts of my job.
He even got his own hand stamp at the door.
Waiting for the show to start. Yes, that lady on the left is 39 weeks pregnant and she made it almost the whole night with us. She wins the prize for party guest of the year.
I had no idea what to expect from the show but it was amazing! Yes, it was pasties and feathers. But it also was acrobatics and feats of strength and comedy. One of my favorite acts involved two women dancing to the song ‘Bill Cosby Sweater’, wearing Bill Cosby sweaters and Reebok pumps. At the end of the act they took off their Bill Cosby sweaters to reveal pasties made out of pudding cups. Brilliant.
(Never heard the song ‘Bill Cosby Sweater’? It’s awesome and so is this video. Check it out.)
The best performers, however, were Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey, from Baltimore no less! Represent, Charm City!
During the intermission we took Fabio out into the lobby with us and Stefanie worked the crowd, inviting strangers to get a picture with him. (No, we never charged for photos but we would have made a ton if we had.) People loved him. It was hilarious to watch them approach him, somewhat tentatively, then get really into the photos.
Our full group:
After the show we brought Fabio up to the stage and got several pictures with Trixie Little and the Evil Hate Monkey. Yes I have uncensored versions of this photo and no you can’t see them. This is a family blog, people. Let’s keep it real.
to be continued…
Whoah Nelly. I’m still a little foggy from Saturday night. Stefanie and I threw a bachelorette party for Carrie and it was a doozy.
But that’s the end of the night, and I need to set the stage and go all the way back to the beginning. When we first asked Carrie how she wanted to celebrate her impending nuptials with her nearest and dearest, her requests were simple: keep her far away from male strippers (easy), and give her an opportunity to wear a floor-length hot pink ball gown she found in a vintage shop. That one was a slightly taller order. This was a dress that needed to hit the town and then paint it red (and hot pink). Only the best would do for a gown as fine as this.
When Stefanie and I first started planning, we decided we wanted the night to have multiple surprise destinations for Carrie. We wanted to start with dinner and drinks, take in some kind of show or entertainment, and then, finally, shut it down at the local gay dance club.
Lo and behold, in a wild stroke of good fortune, the night we reserved for the party just so happened to be the same night a burlesque revue was being held in our neighborhood! After that it was easy. Since Carrie is a very accomplished, wonderfully talented writer we decided to tie it all together with the theme of ‘Steamy Romance’.
(And yes, a tavern may seem like an odd place for a lady party, but this tavern had a back room that perfectly suited our theme and sexy fries on the menu. See?)
We wanted to give everything a very personal touch, so Stefanie doctored up some steamy and romantic reading material.
We played a couple of games that were personalized for the lovely couple. The first was a matching game – match the summary of the romance novel to its title. An example:
Joseph was the husband Carrie had dreamed of – handsome, powerful and wealthy. Until she overheard something that made her realize he’d ruthlessly seduced her into marriage for his own ends. She decided to go… Six months later the fugitive bride comes face-to-face with her husband once more. Well, he looks like her husband, he makes love like her husband…but he claims he’s her husband’s twin brother! (answer: Fugitive Bride)
We also created a personalized mad lib, with lines directly from the pages of our romance novels, for each guest to fill in.
The first two lines:
Illuminated by the orange-gold of the dying sun, Carrie saw a colossus of a man with an ebony _______________ between his thighs that he urged on with a joyful “_________________!”. It was Joe, the daredevil, the lover of women, the playboy. He had returned to her. (first blank: ANIMAL, second blank: VERBAL EXCLAMATION!)
After we were finished with the dinner and games we posed for some pictures with Carrie’s date. Over the course of our evening, I think about half of the east side of Madison posed for some pictures with Carrie’s date. I would imagine in our little corner of the world, there are a lot of people wondering why Fabio is suddenly such a popular facebook profile picture.
Finally, we presented Carrie with an envelope revealing the next destination and her ticket for the show.
to be continued…
Matteo has a deep love for our vacuum. Whenever we use it we put him in his crib or pack and play so he can watch us, and he always he screams with delight as we clean. Yesterday I put him in his crib so I could vacuum his room and he started screaming – but this time because he was upset. Was he afraid of the vacuum? Of course not. He was mad because he wanted to be the one pushing it around.
After I took this video I put the vacuum away and he started crying and ran over to the door to the attic (we keep the vacuum on the attic steps behind a closed door). He wanted it to come out again. He also gets mad if we don’t let him help sweep or use the brush and dustpan. What are the odds he’ll stay a neat freak like this forever? This is awesome.