Sunday, September 27, 2015

Going West

Friday morning, I left Milwaukee, and drove west through southern Wisconsin, where i stopped for a late lunch in Hillsborough, Wisconsin (the Czech Capital of Wisconsin), at Barbie's Kitchen - "the finest eating establishment in town." Set off through southern Minnesota, before pulling off in Rochester Minnesota.  The sun was still high in the sky, and i needed to stretch my legs, but i was not feeling the vibe in Rochester.  After stopping for gas at a mini market, i got back on the road and continued west through Minnesota, until i reached Sioux Falls, South Dakota.

Driving at night turned out to be a good thing, with few cars or trucks on the road, and without the glaring sunlight that was giving me a headache and making my eyes tired.  I let my mind wander as the music played, and got a lot of thinking done, mostly about the healing time i spent with Patty and Charlie in Milwaukee.

On Saturday, I talked to my good friend in Vero Beach, Kitty Kennedy, as a i careened across the state of South Dakota, stopping to see the Corn Palace, a building made entirely out of corn.  I couldn't get into the actual building, because the Dakota Weslyan Homecoming Parade was taking place.

The Badlands
Saturday, 9/26/2015

Wind Cave National Park 
Saturday, 9/26/2015 

Hot Springs, South Dakota
Sunday, 9/28/2015

Crawford, Nebraska
Sunday, 9/26/2015

On Sunday, I left Hot Springs, South Dakota before the sun came up and headed south to Fort Collins, Colorado.  As i entered Wyoming, i was overwhelmed by the sky.  i had to pull over at a rest stop to get my bearings and get inside, away from the sun. My air conditioning conked out, and there was still an hour and a half of driving before i reached the home of my friend, Susan Cooper, and her husband, Rod Page.

As the full blood moon rose, Susan served organic cosmos around the fire pit on their back deck, and we got caught up on things.  Rod put together a deli board, laden with roast beef, ham, cheese, and really good bread.  Susan had put together a welcome basket for me that included nasal spray and eye drops, and after reveling under the moon, she showed me to my gorgeous sleeping quarters, and, once again, i fell asleep with a smile on my face.

Fort Collins, Colorado
Sunday, 9/27/2015 

Friday, September 25, 2015

Leaving Milwaukee

My last night in Milwaukee.  Patty and Charlie have been the best hosts.  Since they both work, they don't hover.  But they are ready to converse and drink wine when they get home.  They have taken me for drives around Milwaukee, pointing out landmarks, so that I have then been able to find things on my own.  Charlie said I am a good house guest because i am so self-entertaining.  

Patrick and Patricia

I have enjoyed my time here, being part of a family.  When i arrived in Milwaukee a month ago, I was spent from all the energy i exerted just getting out of Vero Beach.  And then there was the break neck pace at which i traveled, trying to put as much distance as possible between me and Florida.  Also, let's not forget all of the celebrating I have done whenever I stopped in a new place.  


During the day, when Patty and Charlie were at work, I spent time with Allie and Snickers, their cock-a-poos, and reaped the benefits of the kind of therapy only dogs can provide.  We sat in the back yard, went for walks, and watched television in the cozy, wood paneled library, where i had a dog on top of me at all times.

In addition to much needed naps, my palate was reawakened by the delicious food that Patty and Charlie cooked.  We went to several wonderful restaurants, and they were the most hospitable tour guides, showing me around Milwaukee's many diverse neighborhoods.Patrick, Charlie and Patty's son, came over for dinner tonight.  I have really enjoyed spending time with him. Getting to be with my cousins' and friends' grown up children has been a nice bonus of this trip.

Charlie and Allie

Friday, September 18, 2015

Lake Michigan - Part II

Atwater Park is a few blocks north of the Patty's and Charlie's house.  

Thursday, September 17, 2015

Lake Michigan

I am still in Milwaukee for another week, before heading to Colorado and points further west. Milwaukee has grabbed my heart, with its friendly people, lovely scenery, great food, incredible and diverse architecture, and Lake MIchigan. This vast body of water has mesmerized me the way the ocean does for some people. I am captivated by its many moods.

When I moved to Vero Beach, my very wise cousin, Karres, told me that living by the ocean is not always a comforting experience, especially for people like me who are prone to depression.  During the fourteen years i lived on the beach, i came to realize what she meant.  The vastness of the sea and pull of the tides affected me intensely, depending on the weather and the time of the month. 

After a long day of teaching, I would park my car by the boardwalk at Jaycee Beach, so that i could gather my wits about me before going home to be with my dad.  This was where i would cry and get out the frustrations of the day, so that i would not bring them home to him.  

Looking out at the waves, I often felt that, at any moment, they would pull me under, and, as time went on, and my dad was becoming more withdrawn, I often wished they would.  Some days, i would stand on the beach and hope that a huge wave would swallow me up.  

Being a contained body of water, Lake Michigan has had the opposite effect on me.  

From the moment I arrived here three weeks ago, and drove north on Lake Drive to Patty and Charlie's house, I felt embraced and nurtured.  Several times, i have been so entranced by the view that i almost veered onto the sidewalk.  

Today, i drove down to the beach, where several guys were wind surfing as a huge storm rolled in.  All around me, in the parking lot, were people like me, who were watching the rolling white caps and the changing clouds.  Fall has arrived and the temperatures dropped enough for me to finally pull out my fleece wear.  

The guy in the photo below said that he came out most days, but his rule of thumb for braving the waters was that he did not go in when there was a 60 degree difference between the air temp and the water temp.

As he watched the waves, the guy in the car on the right of me locked his keys inside. Luckily, wind surfers carry tools, and Mr. Wave Watcher had a small screw driver, unlocking the door within minutes.  

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Milwaukee Museum of Art

                                                                                                  As if there wasn't already enough to love about Milwaukee, today i visited the Milwaukee Art Museum.  The exhibits are beside the point, when you consider the building, an architectural wonder hanging out over Lake Michigan.  

The Calatrava designed building is a dizzying, magical piece of art in its own right.  Milwaukee's answer to the Sydney Opera House

I finally got the chance to spend the morning in this amazing public space, and wandered the long corridors, through the cafe and museum shop, until i was, once again, outside, looking into the deep blue waters of Lake Michigan.

It is a disorienting space, and i felt unbalanced, yet exhilarated.  My vertigo returned and i had to go outside for fresh air and the balancing effects of the horizon.  

Even the underground parking garage is full of light and art.