Sunday, September 30, 2018

Madison, WI

We're in Minnesota these days, and fall has officially arrived. The leaves are beginning to change and it's been positively cold in the mornings; I've decided it's time to stash my flip flops once and for all until next year. 

About three weeks ago, when we were in Wisconsin and it still felt like late summer with the slightest twinge of fall in the air, we spent a Saturday morning at the Olbrich Botanical Gardens in Madison. I've carried on at length in previous posts about the arboretum in Dallas, that it is my favorite place in the metroplex and the very best botanical garden we've ever visited, and this is still true. Olbrich, however, has earned second place. It's the sort of place that one could visit over and over and not feel as though she's seen it all before. 

And then just a few pictures of the capitol building: 
One thing we've noticed as we've toured several capitol buildings is this: there are lots of differences in materials and architectural design, but the commonality is all of the care and attention to detail that's been put into each one, and that is a neat thing to see. 

Monday, September 03, 2018

Green Bay in July

Just after the 4th, we tested at a railroad in Green Bay and then had the weekend to run around. We were pleasantly surprised by Green Bay; it's not that we preconceived unpleasant notions about it, but we did expect the usual things that come with bigger cities, namely throngs of people and terrible traffic, but... we found neither! Our hotel was in the very center of the city, and it felt so much like a ghost town the entire time we were there.

Right across the street was the Fox River, which flows through the city and into Lake Michigan. There's a really nice trail system along the river, which I made use of twice - once with Jan Michael and and once by myself. We hadn't been near water for quite awhile, and it was just good for my heart to walk beside it for a few miles, listening to the seagulls squawking and looking at all of the boats that were docked. This particular part of the Fox River Trail is home to CityDeck, which is a large boardwalk with restaurants and neat architecture. I didn't take any pictures there, but it was fun to see people lounging around in the sun, and little ones in their tiny swimsuits playing in the fountain (but not too many people or little ones, because again, no crowds!)

We also visited the Bay Beach Wildlife Sanctuary, which has the second largest wildlife rehabilitation program in Wisconsin. It has six miles of trails, lots of animal habitats, a nature education center and admission is free! It's also home to a bazillion ducks and  geese, which means you have to high-step it to avoid the landmines :) 

And then of course we couldn't be in Green Bay without inspecting Lambeau Field. We'd heard it was in the middle of a residential area, and sure enough! We weren't able to go inside, but the outside was quite impressive, even for rabid Seahawks fans :) 

Saint Paul in April

The second the clock ticks from 11:59 pm on August 31st to 12:00 am on September 1st, I celebrate the arrival of fall. This year especially I'm not terribly sad about waving good-bye to summer.  Jan Michael and I have both been tired of being sweaty messes because of humidity for awhile now, and I miss sweatshirts.

What will make this year's transition most memorable is a trip to urgent care for pink eye(s) and an ear infection, wheeeee! But hooray for modern medicine and a long weekend in which to kick this crud out the door. Also, hip hip hooray for a husband who has somehow managed to maintain his health and will run out the door at a moment's notice for Kleenex and iced coffee and anything else I might want.

We've done hardly any sightseeing for ages, but there are lots of things from months past to catch up on, so...

The capitol building in St. Paul, MN is grand and opulent, more so than any other capitol we've visited so far. This first picture, though, makes me laugh because I had to crop a bunch of port-o-pots; there was some kind of rally going on later that morning and based on the long line of them, standing side by each like soldiers ready for action, the organizers were expecting quite a crowd :)
There was a tai chi class being held in the rotunda while we were there; we did not participate but it was fun to watch :) 

There's lots to see on the grounds in terms of statues and memorials, one of which is the Minnesota Military Family Tribute. It's comprised of 87 large rocks, one for each county in the state. The rocks are known as 'story stones' and are inscribed with excerpts of letters between soldiers at war and their families. As you might imagine, it's a very moving and very humbling place.