Sunday, April 10, 2011

Good Morning, Good Breakfast, Good Fortune

So we wake up to a glorious morning here on Madison's east side. Warm enough to open the windows and let in some fresh air (the flavor and hazy hue of beach resort air) while savoring Sunday's Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel over coffee. That done and the cupboards all but bare, we decide to light out for breakfast at Daisy Cupcakery, one of those small, independent, locally owned restaurants that boost and exemplify the quality of life in the greater Schenk/Atwood/Olbrich neighborhood. On the stroll over, we pass a truck with a vanity plate that reflects the tenor of our times here in Wisconsin....

Daisy Cupcakery is, of course, renowned for its spectacular array of delicious cupcakes....

...but I also dig its funky decor, including this Daisy Cupcakery party mannequin....

....and this display of bottles....

And then there is Daisy's scrumptious chorizo & avocado omelette, which puts the yum back into wholesome goodness...

...and overwhelmed my virtuous intention to order Daisy's home-made granola with yogurt and fresh seasonal fruit. No, really.

The kicker, this morning, was stumbling across an old Nordic Track cross-country ski simulator that had been hauled out to the terrace by one of our neighbors....

Michana tried it out and it worked fine, so in the interests of sustainability and providing a useful inanimate object with a good loving home, we carried it back to the home gym.

The result of all this is aggregate happiness, which is good because I now have some real work to do, and a happy writer is a more productive writer.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Types of Wood

Visited the Hamilton Wood Type Museum last weekend up in Two Rivers. What a revelation. A plethora of fonts crafted in wood -- an enormous collection, vast in size and variety. This display represents the slightest, most fleeting hint of the impressive quantities on view. Plus great vintage linotype machines and other old-school tools dating to Hamilton's 19th-century origins as an impressive printing concern.

The Hamilton Wood Type Museum joins the Beauborg and the old Jeu de Paume in Paris, the Louisiana Museum outside Kobenhavn, the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art, Firenze's Uffizi, Amsterdam's Van Gogh, L.A.'s Getty, Milwaukee Art Museum and a handful of others on my short list of favorite museums.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Neighborhood Watch

Meow: At least one of the homes in my neighborhood is guarded by quite an attentive watchcat. Don't be fooled by the placid expression: Those ears are on full alert, eyes on the lookout for the most fleeting and subtle movment.


Sunday, September 13, 2009

Celebrating Skip Johnson

C.R. "Skip" Johnson died last week. His family and friends gathered to celebrate his life on Saturday, Sept. 12, 2009, at the Johnson Farmstead, where the late artist himself welcomed his tribe to annual Syttende Mai parties. It is a reflection of Skip -- his good humor, his sense of mischief and fun, his affection for life, his creative impulse -- that this gathering was at least as joyful as it was sad. You can't think of Skip -- the extraordinary works of art he crafted from wood (including imaginative furniture but also astonishing flights of sculptural fancy), his fondness for carrying a bottle of beer in his back pocket, his phenomenal aptitude for dancing, his mirth and joie de vivre -- without understanding his friends' and family's instict to rejoice, revel and raise a little hell more than mourn. Skip lived 81 years by the clock but countless more than that by spirit and enthusiasm. Thus, while there were indeed tears shed Saturday, there were also smiles galore, toasts and cheers....


Sunday, July 26, 2009

Six Decades in One Evening

Six people in my family marked birthdays ending in zero this year, so we gathered with friends last evening at Westmorland Park to celebrate with for a Decades Party: guacamole, chips, sandwiches, potato salad, fromage du Carr Valley, wild rice salad, strawberries with chocolate & whipped cream, pickled kohlrabi, hummus, veggies, dip, Oberon beer, boxes of Pinot Evil and Banrock Station Chardonnay, champagne, the best home-brewed mead in the history of the universe, ladder golf, disc, futbol, conversation, hijinks and....

The weather was lovely -- warm, bit of a breeze, and the exact proper number of well-sized clouds to offset the blue sky.....

At twilight, the mosquitos came out. So did the citronella tiki torches, and a crescent moon...


Friday, June 12, 2009

First Fridays at MMoCA: Harmonious Wail

Harmonious Wail performed during First Fridays at MMoCA last week, up on the roof of the Overture Center, where the Madison Museum of Contemporary Art sculpture garden is located. It was sunny. There was a light breeze. And the Wail's music (left to right: Sims, Matt, Maggie, Tom)...



Thursday, June 11, 2009

Bike to Work Week: Why People Ride Their Bikes

It's Bike to Work Week here in Madison. A great time to ask people why they ride the bikes they ride. It's one of my favorite questions to ask. The answers tend to suggest a close relationship between the rider and his or her bike.

During the Bike to Work Week event hosted Tuesday morning by Isthmus (the Madison weekly where I enjoy the privilege of being a staff writer, and which offered coffee, bagels, rolls, fresh fruit to two-wheeled commuters, along with free bike checks courtesy of Williamson Bicycle Works mechanics), I posed the question to several people. Every answer was distinct. Here's Steve Goldstein, explaining why he rides a Klein....


And here's former Ald. Robbie Webber, extolling the virtues of her well-traveled and -accessorized hybrid bike (watch for an amusing cameo appearance by Madison Mayor Dave Cieslewicz)...


Next, John Rider, Madison's bicycle registration coordinator, introduces his beloved Giant Iguana...


Greg Blake, a product designer for Madison-based Pacific Cycle, explains the appeal of his Mongoose road bike:


My youngest sister, Louisa, is up next, with a testimonial for her Univega Activa Country:


Trisha Crinkley, a certified Physician Assistant at Wildwood Family Clinic and self-proclaimed fair-weather bike commuter, likewise expresses great fondness for her Fuji Touring bike:


And to wrap this up, Brian Conger, outreach coordinator for the Bicycle Federation of Wisconsin (organizers of Bike to Work Week) explains how spiffing up his vintage Schwinn Madison has made him the coolest kid on his block:


Bike to Work Week continues through Friday, June 12, with events including Bike Trivia and a final BTWW celebration at Vilas Park. For details, check the listings on Isthmus's website at The Daily Page.