Sunday, October 28, 2012

Hurricane Sandy and the Eventful End

Hurricane Sandy delivered some drama into our lives this morning as we learned that flight times and train schedules had been cancelled on nearly every leg of the journey for our guests.  After driving to the airport to reschedule flights (never got past the computer on the phone) and spending some time sitting in the waiting area on the phone to Amtrak, hostels, and more, we were able to figure out their trip.  It was not without some sadness as we were forced to cancel their trip to New York (the city is evacuating after all!) and cut their trip to the US short by three days.

After all that though we were able to make it to the lovely capitol of Wisconsin for some Madison touring with our own little resident Madisonite - my sister Rivers.

We enjoyed the view from Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace.

Richard, Michael, and Ingrid were treated to the view from the top of the Capitol building.

And we walked the streets before returning to Milwaukee.

Yesterday was lovely.  We spent the morning and into the afternoon at the Zoo.

Where a cute duck tried to join our group in the aviary.

And this guy strutted his stuff and just begged to have his photograph taken.

We ended Saturday with a quick driving tour of Milwaukee before visiting our very favorite Chinese restaurant to share dinner with Richard's parents before a stop to introduce Ingrid to her very first scoop of Milwaukee frozen custard.

Friday, October 26, 2012

Wonderfully Busy Week

It has been a wonderfully busy week.  We've had quite the time showing the exchange students and teachers around Milwaukee, and I'm happy it's not over yet.

I made our signature cranberry bbq chicken (pinned) for dinner on Monday and shared the meal with the teachers Ingrid and Michael, as well as our friends Dan and Lynn who are playing host to Michael this week.

Tuesday we visited the Harley Davidson Museum.  I am excited to see it again as we didn't stay nearly long enough to read everything I wanted to.

I missed out on all the fun Wednesday when I had to work late, but everyone else attended a soccer game before going to see a dance performance.

Yesterday was my favorite destination - the art museum.  We were treated to an exhibit on Rembrandt, Van Dyck, and Gainsborough, but were kept from seeing the installation pieces I wanted to revisit because we happened to stop in on the same night as the yearly art auction.  Watching the auction set up from the upper floors was interesting though, and we managed to detour through the animation "studio" that I've never been able to visit before.

Today I'm tidying the house and running loads of laundry, and trying to make a decision on what we're doing for dinner.  Considering I have at least a couple more uninterrupted hours, I'd best get back to accomplishing things and I'll try to remember to add the photos later.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

German exchange and house projects

Today's the day.  Tonight we go to the airport to pick up the German exchange students and teachers.  We have such an exciting week planned, and I just can't wait for it.

Until then we have plans.  Last minute cleaning, loads of laundry, and maybe even a small house project or two.

Last weekend we finally cleared out the breezeway which we've been planning to use as a dining room.  However over the course of the summer the room became a landing zone for excess furniture, project supplies, and tools.  Now there's just the dining room table (with mismatched linens) and an odd piece of art I picked up at an estate sale for the frame.

I picked up curtains for the breezeway windows and I feel like the fact that they all match helps the house look like real adults live here.  Thank goodness for clearance shelves at home stores.

Saturday, October 20, 2012

Friday Date Afternoon

One thing I love to do when Richard and I both have off on a weekday is a date afternoon.  We live on a rather tight budget so we keep entertainment expenses low and don't go out very often.  Sometimes date afternoon involves visiting a thrift store or two looking for hidden gems, in better weather we'll pick up subs for dinner and have a picnic, or we hit up a matinee movie and make the oh so healthy choice of sharing a popcorn and soda for dinner.

We went to see Looper yesterday, and not only was it nice to get out of the house but we both enjoyed the movie immensely.  All said it was a $20 date and if you can't find a free event for date night (like Free First Thursdays at the art museum) it's a great choice on a budget.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Weekends and House Projects

It's Sunday evening and while Richard is busy watching the Packers I am happy to sit down for a moment to reflect.  We spent all weekend getting the house ready for our guest (arriving next weekend!) and finishing many house projects that had just "one last thing" left to do.  And even just hanging things on the wall that were meant to be hung a while ago.

Our house is in a constant state of evolution and, most of the time, chaos.  We have so many ongoing projects that it's a relief when one is finally completed.  I don't mind half-finished projects nearly as much as most people think I should, there's something about always having something to pick up that is constantly motivating.  I predict in another, oh, two or three years most of the projects we began when we first moved in will be finished.

Monday, October 8, 2012

Sick Days and a Thrifted Spoon-Rest

The cold got the better of me and we never left the house yesterday except for a quick walk around the block with Wicket.  I would love to spend this lovely sunny day to continue working in the yard, but in the interest of better health I'll keep myself to limited indoor activities.  Perhaps I'll ready the house for the arrival of our German guests (12 days and counting!) or organize out the contents of one more box or scan slides/negatives or all of the above.

But for now, I'll just enjoy my tea and snuggle with Wicket.  Those are the best things to do when sick, especially when you still have to go to work in the evening.  I'm using this otherwise random post to show off my handmade spoon-rest/tea bag holder that I picked up in a Goodwill near Houghton, Michigan, during our camping trip this summer.

Saturday, October 6, 2012

Missing the Last Flea 2012

After resisting for an entire week I have officially caught Richard's cold.  The timing is upsetting for many reasons.  First I'm quickly running out of jello mixes, I gave up working tonight, we postponed our plans to build the backyard patio today, and finally I have to forgo the very last Maxwell Street flea market tomorrow in hopes that I'll be well enough to attend the citizenship party of a dear friend.

Even if the turnout isn't the greatest at the last flea market of the season it is still my favorite because it is a casual day full of sweater-wearing, hot apple cider, and enjoying the foliage on the drive there and back.  After some great finds at the first 2012 flea I didn't have any luck at the rest so besides the joy of going I don't think I'll be missing too much.

Hopefully next year mom and I will be there with a booth of our own, but the planning excitement is a few months off at least.  For now I'll just enjoy perusing photos from past fleas and hoping to make it to that party tomorrow - congratulations again, Laurence!

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

An evening with Ethan Casey

The dinner party this past Saturday was just lovely.  The evening, and guest of honor Ethan Casey, were hosted by the family I work for and it was amazing how packed the house was!  And I must say I was quite impressed how the oldest child I usually care for was so apt at wrangling the younger guests throughout the evening.

I still happened to have the baby on my hip every once in a while but I was able to meet so many interesting people and have wonderful conversations.

Ethan Casey is a journalist turned author who has published books about the many countries he has lived in and is now embarking on the journey to write his next book about the United States.

It is an interesting prospect to see an author in the beginning of a journey they have set out to document, and I'm certainly looking forward to reading his upcoming book (Home Free: An American Road Trip) but for now I will just wait until I can get his book on Pakistan from Richard.