Recently

…my pretty, sleepy baby has been stealing my heart (better than “melting my heart” Brody?)

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…we were lame and did nothing remotely patriotic for the 4th of July. We did eat corn on the cob – does that count?

…Moose got a Thundershirt, and it works!

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…Brody, his mom (who is visiting from Ohio), Finley, and I ate at Stalzy’s, and I finally tried their corned beef Reuben – so amazing and incredibly buttery.

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…(speaking of food) Brody grilled some yummy sausages, including green chorizo, from Underground Meat. Such an awesome butcher shop!

…I need coffee but not too much since I’m nursing.

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…I have realized I NEED a nap almost every day. I didn’t have the chance to nap Friday or Saturday, and let’s just say I was a big old hot mess Saturday night.

Question:
What’s something you’ve been up to recently?

Jam Packed Weekend

Hi there! How are you all? Have a good weekend? A productive Monday? I hope so.

Once again, it’s a self fulfilling prophecy: I post about my weekends. I promise my posts will get more interesting in the future.

I did have a great weekend, though, and I did a lot! It was all fun stuff and left little room for grading. While this does mean I will be scrambling a little to get the last batch of personal narrative essays graded by tomorrow night, it was worth it.

Friday Night
Two teacher friends (from when I worked at a different school) and I still get together. We made plans to grab dinner and then see Jersey Boys at the Overture.

We met at Graze as Nicki had never been. After Lindsay and I gushed about it, she had to agree.
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This map of Wisconsin in the lobby shows all of the farms they use ingredients from. I love how so many Madison restaurants support local businesses and buy local.

We had drinks at the bar and shared an order of cheese curds. They have some of the best in Madison, up there with those from The Old Fashioned.

For dinner, I knew what I was going to order before I had even walked in the door: the bibimbap. This delicious concoction includes a fried rice block, shredded raw vegetables, green onions, tofu or pork (I chose tofu), a runny egg, and chili sauce. You mix it all up and dig in.
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Not the prettiest meal, but the flavors and textures all meld perfectly together.

Lindsay and Nicki both got the pub burger which comes on a homemade English muffin as the bun and with double-fried French fries. Like the cheese curds, these are contenders for the best fries in Madison. I believe they are cooked in duck fat, which explains it.

With about fifteen minutes until show time, we headed to the Overture and found our seats. We were in the top balcony but only a few rows up and in the very center.

It was an amazing show, and I was surprised how many songs I knew (however, I am not the type to sing along). The story line covered a lengthy span of time, but it was really the music and amazing singers who made this musical what it was. Even though it was incredible, I still enjoyed Wicked more. I’m not sure why – maybe a stronger plot? That’s probably the English teacher in me thinking that way.

Towards the last half an hour, I got sleepy. If I had my druthers (Brody used this expression on Saturday, and I thought I should use it too), I’d be in bed by 9:30pm on a Friday. Yup, I’m a grandma. But, I had so much fun catching up with Lindsay and Nicki at dinner and getting all cultured (ironic diction there), it was worth the late night.

Saturday Morning
Mel asked if I was interested in volunteering with her for the Girls On the Run 5K in Waunakee.
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I ran this last year with my sister-in-law and thought its be fun to help out and run again. Mel and I arrived at 8am and helped people register for the run. The time flew by, and before we knew it, we were listening to the National Anthem.
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We all had the same bib numbers! We are all winners.
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Picture courtesy of Mel

The run was fun, and SO cute! All of these little girls running with their moms, dads, and mentors. It was a hilly course, and due to the volume of people and walkers, Mel and I didn’t break any records. At the end, we did see and hear the overly supportive/forceful parent yelling for his kid to sprint to the end. As she passed us, I heard her say, “This hurts Dad.”
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Saturday Afternoon
Three major events happened: I took the dogs to the park, I napped, and I went shopping. It was epic.

Saturday Evening
Brody and I were invited to the annual DAIS (Domestic Abuse Intervention Services) Gala. It was a swanky, black tie optional event at The Madison Club. There was a silent auction (we lost out on some photos of New York) and a live auction after dinner (Brody put his number up once).

The meal was incredible: mushroom soup with a small salad; fried braised short ribs, a piece of steak, puréed rutabaga, and fall vegetables; and a chocolate mound with cake, peanut butter mousse, drizzled with a raspberry caramel sauce. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the time or place to take photos, so you’ll just have to imagine this three-course meal.

DAIS is in the midst of a Capital Campaign, as they are raising money to build a new facility. It is an amazing cause to support and there is a great need for a larger space. It is heartbreaking to hear how many women and children they have to turn away because their beds are filled. If you live in Dane County, I highly encourage you to look at their website and consider donating.

Sunday
I could’ve used a rest day after all of that activity, but we had more plans. I made it to the park early with the dogs and did a little grading before heading to Fredonia. My sister, the music teacher, directed her district’s musical. We saw the matinee of The Wizard of Oz, and she did a great job. It sounds like it’s A LOT of work with choreographing, coordinating practices, dealing with kids from elementary school through high school, etc. Ugh, I am exhausted just thinking about it. Good work Laura!

Happy Monday!

Questions:
What’d you do this weekend?
Did you run or have a race this weekend?
What’s the best musical you’ve ever seen?

A Weekend of Stories

As promised, I have a few movie reviews and two mid-book “talks” to give. The fact that it’s a week “late” shouldn’t matter, right?

I love talking about books and movies! In particular, I love getting books in the hands of my students. It makes me so happy to see a student who probably hasn’t read an entire book for years finish a book I gave him/her. Modeling how adults interact with books (and movies) and each other regarding books is so important. Some of my students come from text deficient environments – their parents don’t read the paper, they don’t keep books in their house, and they don’t share books with each other. It’s sad but when there are more pressing needs (food, job, money, etc.), I get why books take a back seat.

Just like movies, books transport use to new places and new situations. As Kelly Gallagher names it, books provide us with “imaginative rehearsals” for the real world. Of course I will never be like Katniss, living in District 12, and participating in The Hunger Games, but with every book or movie, we can learn a little about ourselves and maybe even become better people.

So as you recall, my sister rounded up some of the most cheesiest movies (besides The Hunger Games) from the last few years: Dolphin’s Tale, Joyful Noise, Big Miracle, and We Bought a Zoo. Keep in mind my sister is 27, I am 29, and my mom is 58. No kids, just adults and hours of feel good Disney.
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After raking, we started with The Hunger Games. This was my third time seeing it but my mom’s first. Unfortunately she hasn’t read the books, so she had some questions along the way. I was very happy with this film’s adaptation of the book. Of course the movie is never as good as the book, but this one came pretty close in my opinion.

Post-teenage blood bath, I took a nap. For two hours. Apparently raking for two hours wore me out and I needed to spend equal amount of time sleeping. It was glorious. My mom is super 80’s and uses electric blankets. I was all warm and cozy and slept like a log.

You know that groggy feeling you have after napping? I had major fog brain, but a nice two mile walk with the family and dogs took care of that.

That evening we watched We Bought a Zoo. I was looking forward to this one and had tried multiple times this summer to convince the kids I nanny for to choose it whenever we went to Redbox. Overall I liked it; it was a cute, feel-good movie. However, I did think they overdid the plot line involving the mom who had recently passed away.

When I wasn’t watching movies or napping, I was reading Loving Frank.
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This book follows the relationship between Frank Lloyd Wright and his mistress (they were both married). It’s well-written but not a fast moving book. It’s interesting to see how both were breaking all kinds of social codes from that time period. I believe that although it’s fiction, parts of the book are based on Wright’s and his mistress’ actual lives.

And now, a week later, I am watching New Moon as I recoup from a girls’ weekend up in Minocqua. I have some great pictures to share, and hopefully it won’t take me a full week to get my s*** together.

Happy Sunday night!