R & R in Wisconsin 2/28-3/6

This has been a great week visiting my brother, Perry and his partner, Michael. As you well know, from previous post, my stepmother passed away and my dad thought that he had heart issues. I arrived here Monday, a little frazzled from the events of the past few weeks. I arrived two hours later than I was scheduled because of the weather in Maine and New York City where I had my connecting flight. Perry was at the airport with a beautiful bouquet of flowers.

I posted this picture of their breakfast/sitting room off of the kitchen because this is where we spend most of our time. It is such a cozy and comfortable area. Plus, there are tons of birds eating from the various bird feeders Perry and Michael have outside. It is one of my favorite rooms in the whole house.

Tuesday, while Perry and Michael worked, I took Jack, their French bulldog, on a long walk in their woods. We saw an eagle and 2 deer on this beautiful, crisp, blue-sky day. We walked to the upper pasture to pay our respects to their yellow lab Biscuit. Biscuit was their beautiful yellow lab that they had to put down last September. When David and I visited last February, I knew that it would be my last time seeing her. She was such a special dog. Her grave is near Kiwi the cat and Noah, their pug. Jack and I sat for awhile chatting with the animals and then we headed back to the house. Michael and Perry were amazed that Jack did such a long walk as he usually stops at a certain point, refusing to go any further.

Wednesday, Perry and I went to downtown Madison. We visited the Wisconsin Historical museum to see the exhibit “Odd Wisconsin”. It was items in the museum’s archive that really didn’t belong to a specific exhibit. So, they pulled them out into this exhibit. There were items such as a rock that was thrown through Arkansas NAACP President Daisy Bates’ living room window in response to her leadership in the effort to integrate Little Rock schools in 1957. Attached to the rock was a note from the KKK saying the next time, it would be dynamite. Another item was one of those plastic pink flamingos people decorate their yard with. It was one of the survivors from 1,008 flamingos that were planted on the lawn at the University of WI on the first day of classes in 1979 as a celebration of the Pail and Shovel party for winning the student government election. It was an interesting and unique exhibit but we thought that the exhibit was going to have only items that were odd to Wisconsin.

Across the street from the museum was the state house where there have been protest for the past two weeks. For the most part, the protest are over. They were protesting the new Republican governor’s tax cuts in his attempt to balance the budget. Actually, the state unions…state workers and teachers approved the 9% pay cut but were protesting the fact that Governor Walker wanted to revoke their collective bargaining rights. There were still a few die-hards carrying signs and sprouting their opinion to anyone who was willing to listen. Before heading back to Hawthorne Hill, we went to Michael’s for a turtle sundae. My favorite and so very good!

I took the dogs for another walk. Oh my gosh, Hunter, the chocolate lab is a riot walking!!! He loves the snow and going down a hill, he gets a running start lowers his upper body to start sliding. Eventually, his whole body flips. At one point, he was sliding downhill, on his back, head facing downward, with all four legs up in the air. He looked like Scooby Doo in the cartoons!

I also went to Barnes and Noble for a couple of hours. The time passed way to quickly while browsing through the great selection they have there. It is one of my favorite Barnes and Nobles in the states.

Thursday night Michael, Perry, Doug – a friend-and I went to a guided meditation with Mary Preuss Olson, who is Perry and Michael’s spiritual guide. She did three meditations. One was done with a large bowl that she made ring while moving a stick on the rim. It was a beautiful sound. I have just begun to meditate, so I am not very good but I am trying….as Perry says, “fake it until you make it”. One thing I just cannot do is visualize. For me to close my eyes and picture a beautiful field of wild flowers in vibrant colors just doesn’t happen. When I close my eyes to visualize, I see black. It has been a great source of frustration but I have accepted it and work with what I can. I hope that with time, the colors and scenes will come.

What a treat I had Friday! My girlfriend, Suzanne, from Nebraska surprised me with a massage! She contacted Perry and asked him to arrange it. I was so very, very grateful. I carry my stress in my shoulders and back and lord only knows, I have been a little stressed. This was one of the best massages I have had. He worked quite awhile on my back, the problem area. It was so very, very nice to wake up Saturday and be pain free. Blessings to you and much thanks, Suzanne.

Saturday was “decadent day”! Michael, Perry and I all went into Michael’s Frozen Custard and had fried cheese curds and tested some of their new sundaes that they are going to be soon offering. I tried one with brownies, chocolate sauce and nuts over vanilla frozen custard. I have to say, that the Turtle is still my favorite. However, they are going to be offering a sundae with caramel and cashews, which sounds very tempting. I think I like caramel more than chocolate!

My flight home was fairly uneventful but would have been a little challenging had I not gotten on an earlier flight out of Madison on Sunday, March 6. I had a 45 minutes to make my connection in Detroit and my flight out of Madison was delayed by 35 minutes. I never would have made my connecting flight! As it was, my suitcase didn’t make it. That was fine, it arrived the next day and I got to sleep in my bed that night!

I had a lovely visit with Perry, Michael and the dogs at one of my top ten favorite places in the world! I feel rested and revived to face the next possible challenges that Dad’s upcoming stress test may present!!! Onward and upward!

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