Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Fire Fall at Yosemite National Park (Postcard Series)

Recipe for a Perfect Photo: Clear Sky, Sunset and Water.  (The New York Times, 2/25/2013)

Excerpt: The photographers were packed so tightly along the riverbank that they looked like paparazzi stalking a starlet. In this case the Lindsay Lohan in question was a wispy little ribbon of water falling thousands of feet down the face of El Capitan, the world’s largest single chunk of granite. For about one week each February, the setting sun hits the water of Horsetail Fall at such an angle that it glows, looking like a stream of lava against the darkened rock.

Yosemite 'Firefall' Sets Iconic Waterfall Beautifully Alight.  (Huffington Post, 2/21/2013)

April 30, 1992

Today I think about tomorrow, taking a day off work and getting into some long overdue yardwork. I also think about leaving work early, but CDs in delivery keep me in my office until after 5.  On the way home, I stop at the Bruce Company in preparation for tomorrow's chores.

I'm fascinated by the news coverage of L.A. burning that Andy and I watched during the evening.  Naturally, he doesn't have a clue.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

April 28, 1992

Lasted a season and a half on NBC

I think about going into work early -- earlier than my 12 noon starting time, that is -- but get caught up with a little yard work and transcribing journal notes from January 1990.  I spend much of the afternoon at the Madison Public Library.  It's the second meeting of the Dane County reimbursement committee and a productive one at that.  I do have one concern.  We talk about cutting the same size pie into different sized pieces, but I (silently) don't buy that.  I am certainly not ready to accept a smaller check for Middleton.

For the first time in 5 weeks, I work the reference desk without interruption.

Saturday, April 27, 2013

On This Date in 1998

It feels like we’re sprinting to the finish line of the school year.  Not that I’m in any particular hurry to get there.  The boys probably are, though.  For Andy, it will mean no  homework for three months.  For Mom and Dad, it will provide a temporary respite from tense confrontations over late and incomplete assignments.

Tonight JoAnna reminded me to check Andy’s assignment notebook, right after he told us he had finished everything he was supposed to do.  But when I reviewed his assignments item by items, I found out otherwise.   As a result, I made him sit at the kitchen table and complete the work he had previously blown off.  For the past hour, he’s been working on a crossword puzzle that uses vocabulary from a list of words in a science glossary.  He should have been able to complete it in 15 minutes, but initially he had trouble getting focused.  He had to sharpen his pencil.  He needed a drink of water.  Then he was going to have a bowl of ice cream.  I quickly vetoed that last idea.  Even when he returned to the table, he seemed unable to concentrate, a blank expression on his face, then a hint of stubbornness spreading across it.  In our bedroom, I shared an idea with JoAnna.  Andy’s weekend doesn’t start on Friday until his homework for Monday is done.  No TV.  No playing with friends.  No pizza delivery.  No videos.  One of Andy’s problems is that he won’t tackle an assignment until the day before it’s due, even if it’s assigned a week in advance.  I’m trying to get him to see the advantage of completing an assignment early.

Eddie seems to be making great progress as a result of his special reading classes.  He had some homework tonight, and, taking a cue from his brother, initially resisted the idea of doing it.  He read five little stories to us (“Sam has ham” – simple words used repetitively).  He was able to sound out all the words without our assistance.

JoAnna spent Saturday evening and Sunday in Two Rivers with her parents.  She made a presentation Sunday afternoon to the Two Rivers HistoricalSociety on the Richard family history.  Outside of the special election, that was her big project during the past few months.  She was expecting somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 people to show up.  Almost 200 attended!  Her family tree goes back to Acadia.  French-Canadian.  She has found a lot of information on the Internet, and I ordered her a couple of books on Acadian history from the State Historical Society library.  We’ll have to remember to bring along some of her research this summer.

In two more weeks, I’ll be done with my class at the University.  I won’t be teaching again in the fall, since UW has a policy that a “hired gun” like myself can only teach the same course two semesters in a row.  It’s been a great experience.  I feel honored to have been given this opportunity and very pleased with the feedback I have received from students and faculty.

I started the annual spreading of the mulch.  This year I ordered 7 cubic yards of shredded bark, up one from last year.  I started with the front yard on Saturday, a gorgeous day to be outdoors, which helped me to tackle the project with an extra dose of enthusiasm.  I removed some sod next to the evergreen trees at the north end of our lot, the mulch I spread here giving this area some much-needed definition.   It also helps to downplay the lawn blight.  It rained in Sunday so I wasn’t able to get started on the south side of the house, where no grass is found and a variety of perennials soak up the sun all summer long.  It did clear up by late afternoon, but by that time I was determined to finish the books I was reading (TheWishbones, a funny first novel by Tom Perrotta, 1990s New Jersey slice of life – a book that I bet Dale would enjoy reading).  Then after supper, the boys and I walked to a nearby ball diamond where Andy practiced his pitching (he hopes to be one of the starting pitchers on his baseball team this summer. 

Saturday night I took the kids (the boys + Meaghan and Nick) to see Paulie, a movie about a talking parrot, one who doesn’t just mimic what he hears people say, but actually has a mind (and a vocabulary) of his own.    It’s a cute family film, although I must admit I found it a little sluggish and treacly at times.  With the weather so lousy on Sunday, I thought we might take in another movie, but Andy was with Nick and Meaghan for most of the day, and Eddie was at a friend’s house for three hours during the afternoon.  Dad ended up home alone, stretched out on the couch of the living room, reading his book, enjoying the solitude.

Last week I turned off the furnace but fired it up tonight.  The temperature was 43 degrees when I woke up this morning, the wind chill at 20.  Tonight it’s supposed to get even colder.  Glad I didn’t try to plan anything this weekend.  There are a few areas of the yard where I’d like to fill in some open space with perennials.  I usually don’t even think about planting annuals until the Mother’s Day weekend, although some people around here will say wait until Memorial Day.  I can never wait that long.
I noticed the obituary for Levina Karlson.  Did you go to her funeral, Mom?  I was thinking of sending a memorial to the church.  I always associate city chicken with Levina, probably because it was one of the meals she served us at their house on Sixth Avenue.

I bought Barb a birthday card a few days before the deadline but never got around to sending it.  I wanted to enclose a note and perhaps pick up a little gift for her (and Dale, too).  But excuses, excuses – I just never got around to it.  Happy belated birthday, Barb!  We’ve been thinking about you.

April, 27, 1992

Lately when I think about the library, I imagine Julie Brunnette and Don Damon wielding a big axe at budget time.  I am already considering how to absorb budget cuts:  reduced hours of operation, reduced hours for part-time staff.  Then -- Superman to the rescue -- I explain to the community what the cuts mean and a tremendous uproar ensues.  The Gang of 5 is recalled, and the City of Middleton finally has a progressive form of government.  Make this dream reality.

Friday, April 26, 2013

April 26, 1992

Here we go again.  If I thought JoAnna was busy before the election, the aftermath is a cruel reminder that there is not going to be any Hi and Lois scenario or any Family Circus antics here. What little family time we're going to have is going to have to be pounced on.

Another gloomy day.  I think about the gardening and other yard work I'd like to do, but think is all I'm able to do.  JoAnna fixes dinner, and while I clean up, she leaves for her second meeting of the day.

Turks Head, Providence, Rhode Island

Tallest building in downtown Providence upon its construction in 1913 until 1922, when it was superseded by the Providence Biltmore.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

No, Gomer, that's not a parking place

April 25, 1992

Wasn't the election a couple of weeks ago?  Sure it was, but it feels like a campaign weekend with JoAnna out of the family picture, Daddy and the boys doing their male-bonding thing.  The weather is unseasonably cool, the sky the grayest of gray.  The family goes out to dinner together at Red Lobster.  The boys are on their best behavior.  I order a dinner that comes with shrimp, crab legs, and scallops.  I find it to be an uninspired preparation and way overpriced.

Pershing Square, Los Angeles

Come back to Pershing Square. Again. Please. (Los Angeles Times, 2/13/2013)

Excerpt:  Pity Pershing Square. It’s been put through more makeovers than Joan Rivers, and the results haven’t been nearly as presentable.

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

April 24, 1992

A mediocre opening weekend

The WAPL conference is very successful and well-attended.  The final is 257.  I make it to only one program.  Otherwise, I spend most of my time talking with Dale Bartkowiak and Mike Cross. Throughout the day, I think ahead to next year's conference and how it will be mounted.  I leave the Dells at 2:40, an hour before the actual conclusion of the conference, so I can take a leisurely approach to picking up the boys.  In other words, I have time to cash my check at the credit union and pick up some reading matter at Pic-a Book.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Cadillac: Do It Today...Not Someday (1970)

National Geographic, May 1970

That was then, this is now.

Mary Imogene Bassett Hospital, Cooperstown, New York (Postcard Series)

Photo credit:  Rate My Hospital

April 23, 1992

I attend the SCLS annual meeting at the Monona Community Center after dropping off Andy and visiting the library.  The front doors didn't get locked last night.  The first session on ADA is informative, but the session on Inform Wisconsin is, for me, repetitive.  I skip lunch, wanting to get an Area Leaders meeting underway by 1:30.  Larry Martin and I drive to the Dells to attend a WAPL board meeting, which turns out to be a productive two hours.  As I leave the Holiday Inn to return home, I almost regret my decision not to stay overnight, but the romper-room country sounds emanating from the bar help me on my way.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

April 21, 1992

What I didn't watch on this or any other night on TV

For the third week in a row, I don't have a free morning.  I drive to the SCLS office to attend a LINK cataloging subcommittee meeting, which lasts only an hour.  Nevertheless, it's still one by the time I get to the library, where I remain until after 10.  JoAnna gets sworn in as a new county board supervisor, but I feel a need to attend the council meeting, and what an inept circus it is.  The Gang of 5 is still smarting from their recent setback and refuse to endorse the mayor's slate of candidates for the various boards and commissions.  I fear not only for the library but for city services in general.


Westmorland Park, Madison, Wisconsin

At the heart of a gem of a neighborhood.

Photo credit:  Retiring Guy 

Photo credit:  Retiring Guy

Photo credit:  Retiring Guy

Description from Westmorland Neighborhood Association homepage:  Westmorland is a vibrant, friendly neighborhood situated among similar communities on Madison's near west side. Our boundaries are from Mineral Point Road to the north, Midvale Boulevard to the west, the Southwest Pedestrian/Bike Path to the south, and Glenway Street to the east. In the heart of our community is Westmorland Park.

Photo credit:  Retiring Guy

My favorite slide.

Harkness Memorial Tower and Dwight Memorial Chapel, Yale University (Postcard Series)

The Character of Harkness Tower (1917-1921)

Historic Buildings of Connecticut:  Dwight Chapel (1842)

Saturday, April 20, 2013

Pauline Wagner Woll (1926-2013) Warren High School Class of 1944

Dragon, Warren High School, 1944

The #1 song when Pauline graduated from high school.

Judy Kays Gariepy (1944-2013) Warren Area High School Class of 1961

Dragon, Warren Area High School, 1961

April 20, 1992

There's clutter on my desks to be organized or tossed out.  I'd rather have done this on Saturday but I got caught up with other tasks and left the library soon after closing without making an effort at tidying up.

Today I start to think ahead.  The library's long-range plan needs to be revised.  I need to start gathering information as far of my review of fulltime staff positions.

I spend a quiet evening at home with the boys as JoAnna has a meeting.

Postscript:  Well, TIME, as it turned out.....

...they trusted Bush and Perot even less.

Friday, April 19, 2013

The Krebs, Skaneateles, New York (Postcard Series)

The Krebs on Facebook

New Owners of “The Krebs” to Renovate Landmark Restaurant and Donate 100 Percent of Profits to Onondaga County Charities. (Restaurant News, 8/23/2010)

Excerpt:   The Krebs, founded in 1899 by Cora Krebs was passed down through the family to Larry Loveless. He and his wife Jan ran the restaurant for 46 years until her death in July. Larry Loveless wanted to retire, but also wanted The Krebs to continue in the tradition of hospitality that has made it famous through three-generations of family ownership, or he would be forced to close the restaurant and sell the real estate.

April 19, 1992

A mediocre opening for a forgettable film

I figure I'll have most of the day to myself, not expecting JoAnna and the boys until after 5.  For most of the morning, I type up notes from 1990 and find them disappointingly trite, although I know there are some juicy tidbits to come.  While fixing chicken wings, I sip a very tasty Bloody Mary. It's a lowkey -- there's that word again -- afternoon.  Although the temperature is in the 60s, the intermittent rain keeps me inside.  It's a bit of an adjustment once my family returns home.  The solitude is shattered.  I soon find that I'm repeating myself whenever I talk to Andy.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Bishop Memorial Training School for Nuns, Pittsfield, Massachusetts (Postcard Series)

How to Become a Catholic Nun
  • Pray
  • Meet nuns
  • Talk with a mentor
  • Contact a religious community
  • Work with the vocation director
  • Join the community
Prerequisites for Becoming a Catholic Sister or Nun
  • You must be a Catholic woman,
  • You must be single.
  • You must not have any dependent children.
  • You must not have any debts upon entrance to the novitiate.
  • You must be healthy.
  • You must be 18 to 40-ish years old.

Red Potato Booty

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Luxurious Hotel Row Looking South on Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, Florida (Postcard Series)

One of the first luxury resorts in Miami Beach, the Saxony Hotel opened in 1948.

Shhh... Here's A New Rendering Of The Hush Hush Faena Saxony.  (Curbed Miami, 12/12/12)

Collins Avenue magazine

What JoAnna and I Found at Tiedeman Pond Nearly A Month Into Spring

On Sunday, April 14.

It was our first ponds walk of the season. At the entrance to the Tiedeman Pond trail, we stepped around q barricade and ignored a sign warning us that the path was closed due to high water. We didn't even encounter any squishiness.

Much to JoAnna's disappointment, though, we didn't spot any blue herons.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Brittingham's Radio Center Restaurant, Hollywood

Radio City Hollywood  

Video coverage starts at 0:48.

April 16, 1992

Never on the Nelson/Richard TV viewing schedule

JoAnna calls me at the library during the day to inform me of the latest version of her weekend plans.  She's thinking about leaving tonight.  I'm not expecting this scenario and hesitate momentarily.

"Then you'll have tomorrow completely to yourself.  You can sleep in, you won't have to worry about the boys waking you up early."

Returning home from work, I soon find that JoAnna has started to pack.  I inspect Andy's suitcase and discover that he's ready for another excursion to Disney World.

"You have too many shorts and tank tops here, Andy," I comment.  "It could be summer in the rest of the state, but chances are it will still be closer to winter in Two Rivers."

Monday, April 15, 2013

On This Date in 1998: Wednesday, April 15

It took me 5 minutes to get this program (Microsoft Word) working.  When I first tried to type, nothing happened.  I let my fingers tap-dance on the keyboard, hoping to see a long line of gibberish, but the screen remained blank.  “What’s going on here?” I wondered.  I exited Word and tried another program.  Microsoft Schedule+.  The same results, at least initially, on the screen.  OK, let’s try Word again.  And as you can now see, it’s operational as I’m already at the end of the first paragraph of his letter.  Sometimes computers get temperamental; it’s hard to explain.
My workday was abbreviated today, which came as no surprise.  Before driving the boys to school, I repeatedly asked Andy how he felt.  He looked a little peeked and had a phlegmy cough, but he insisted that he was OK.  Today happened to be a late start – kids don’t have to be to school until 10:10.  On these once-a-month occasions, the boys’ After School program offers a “before school” program.  Simply stated, Andy wanted to play.  The school nurse called me at 10:15.  Andy must have walked into his classroom and immediately announced to his teacher, “I don’t feel so good.”  He had a temperature of 104.  When I picked him up, he looked drained of color, but, surprisingly, still seemed to have a bit of zip in him.  He had a bounce in his step as we walked to the car.   As soon as we got home, he sacked out on the couch in the family room, watching RV for awhile, but, once he had a bowl of chicken noodle soup, took a nap at my request.   Although I had brought home some work from the library, I ended up doing some housework – folding a load of laundry, unloading the dishwasher, cleaning up the kitchen, -- and then finished the book I started to read on Sunday.  I’ve assigned myself the task of reading the complete works of Russell Banks, who will be the keynote speaker at this fall’s Wisconsin Library Association convention at Lake Geneva.  Since I’m the one who’ll be introducing him, I thought I should be familiar with his books.                        It’s finally stopped raining.  I heard the pitter-pat of rain on the roof when I got up at 6:00 this morning and dodged raindrops when I ran a quick errand at 3:30 this afternoon.  In between, the precipitation was relentless.  Both Andy and Eddie had soccer games scheduled for later this afternoon, now canceled, to be rescheduled at a later, hopefully drier, date.  Andy couldn’t have played anyway, even though the color is now back in his face and he’s out from under the covers.  Right now he’s playing a solo version of the board game Payday.
The boys and I are sure glad to have Mom home.  The Manthey-Lazich match-up was a tough race, a disappointing outcome, but not a surprise considering the district’s severe Republicans leanings.  Adelman had obviously built up some very strong name recognition, not to be matched by a rookie politician.
I think JoAnna’s ten days away from home made her realize how important her family is.  Personally, I wouldn’t mind if she found herself a less stressful, demanding position, something that doesn’t require so much of her time.  We went through the same thing while she was on the County Board and working for Broydrick.  
JoAnna returned home last Wednesday absolutely exhausted.  It took her five days, and numerous naps, to recover from the string of 18-hour vacation days she experienced in Milwaukee.  What a strange couple of weeks that was. First of all, the boys and I traveled to Pennsylvania – great road trip – spent 3+ days with my family, had a great time in Chicago (visited the Field Museum, Shedd Aquarium, top of the Hancock Building, the Children’s Museum on Navy Pier, the Museum of Science & Industry), and returned home to an empty house.    We saw JoAnna Saturday evening and all day Sunday and then on Monday she returned to Milwaukee.  By the end of the week, I had to remind myself – Yes, I do have a wife – No, I’m not a single parents – Don’t worry, we’ll all be back together in a few days.   And now we are.  But during those first five or six days, I couldn’t help but observe – Well, Mom’s back in body but not in spirit.  Isn’t she lucky to have such an understanding husband? as I break my arm patting myself on the back.
It’s not even 9 o’clock, but I’m the only one yet stirring in this house.  JoAnna fell asleep an hour ago, shortly after I gave her three aspirin to zap a headache.  Andy still feels warm; I think he’ll be missing a second straight day of school tomorrow.  Eddie’s in fine fettle; I just finished reading him three stories, Andy listening in instead of trying to fall asleep as I suggested.  I’m feeling rather tired myself.  It looks like an across-the-bard early-to bed kinda night.

Sunday, April 14, 2013

Faneuil Hall, Boston (Postcard Series)

Photo credit:  City of Boston

On This Date in 1998: Tuesday, April 14

A postscript on a Tuesday morning.
I’m enclosing a series of picture of the boys.

Andy & Eddie on the family room couch shortly before our departure for South Bend.

A series of three pictures showing the boys clowning around minutes before we backed out of the driveway.  (Look at all that snow in the background!)

Eddie, the Lego engineer, entertaining himself at the kitchen table.

The boys mugging for the camera during breakfast.

The Chicago skyline behind the boys, who are squinting to shield their eyes not only from a bright sun but also a very gusty wind.  Chicago was indeed the Windy City on our first day of sightseeing.

Andy and Eddie took most of the aquarium and museum pictures.  The second roll of film, which includes pictures taken at the top of the Hancock building, is still in the camera, five exposures remaining.

I think Chicago made an especially strong impression on Eddie.  His distillation of the skyline is quite impressive, another fine addition to his growing portfolio.  I should ask him to draw a view from the top of the Hancock building – to learn how his mind processed that perspective.

With the election over and the legislature not in session – and a desire to spend more time with her family – JoAnna has vowed to work a 40-hour-a-week schedule for the time being.   Yesterday she worked 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., which means that she picked up the boys at After School, dropped Eddie off at his soccer practice, and prepared supper (leftovers from Easter), while I was able to work a little bit later than usual – until 6:00.  She’s not looking forward to the fall elections- has even talked about resigning her position and finding a less stressful and demanding type of job.  For now, the boys and I are just happy to have Mom back home, to be a family again, to be able to sit four around the table and enjoy a meal together.