Thursday, September 13, 2012

My Solo Flight

I decided to take a trip to Devil's Lake, climb the bluff (the very scary Balanced Rock Trail) and hike the entire loop around the lake ALL BY MYSELF.

But first I walked Maggie around Pheasant Branch (five miles) and did Bodypump at the gym. Call me Cray Cray or just filled with a lot of nervous/anxious energy. Jim is busy doing the thing he wants to do--build a workshop in our third garage bay during his two week vacation. [We miss Katie!] So I said to myself--challenge yourself, go to Devil's Lake climb that scary bluff by yourself, push yourself to walk that East Bluff Trail (up and down) and that West Bluff Trail (up and down) tackle all those granite steps. Eat lunch by the lake. Clear your head. I packed the most marvelous lunch--a ciabatta ham and baby swiss cheese sandwich, baked sour cream and onion chips, a bottle of Go Go Vitamin Water and a gym bottle filled with lime water. All packed into the green ugly backpack that I bought for Becky when she started Kindergarten from JC Penneys (many a good memory with that backpack--haha!).

I started up the rocky trail that literally cuts into the side of the bluff. At one point there are simply a set of steps chiseled out of the granite with nothing to hold onto and one slip, one unbalanced movement and you would literally fall into big chunks of jagged granite. Well I looked at those steps and thought that can't possibly be the way up, that's just plain suicide and if I did fall how would anyone find my bloody body? I looked for the real path and saw nothing else. And I gave up. I started back down...but then I met this young couple from Israel. I told them I lost the path. The women said, "you come with us, we get lost together," and she just started up those steps with not a problem. Well I couldn't say "no." They made it look so easy and at least someone knew where my body was, lest I should fall. Well we three made it to the top. I found out they lived in Israel but were visiting the young man's dad who lives in Plane, WI.  I took a picture of them with their camera and they took a picture of me with mine (see above) standing on top of the bluff with the lake below. My two angels!
It was incredibly beautiful--the leaves are starting to change!

It must be non-threatening to come across a hiker by herself because other people just started talking to me. I met a group of young guys from Chicago and I told them about Becky going to college there at Loyola. When one of them said that's where he goes for his Therapeutic (something) I decided to take my leave. I also met an older gentleman who SWIMS in the lake every day. He asked me if I walked the Entire Loop and I said "YES!"

It was a GLORIOUS day and maybe just a little closer to God and Heaven. I'm glad I went.

Tuesday, September 11, 2012


Over this past weekend Jim and I ventured to Milwaukee for one of their FABULOUS ETHNIC FESTIVALS:

Of course once inside the gate there was a Native American mascot and a teepee. Jim declined to take a pic with the Indian Chief (besides there was a line clear to the children's play area with people waiting for the photo op). But Jim did agree to pose in front of the teepee (it reminded me of the one I stenciled for Becky and Katie some fifteen years ago--so glad I kept that for the grandchildren!):

Doesn't he look young and handsome?

There was a very special Pow Wow where Native Americans from all over our country came to honor their Veterans who have served in all the past United States wars. Jim said they do more to honor heir veterans than the rest of us:

The P.O.W flag always chokes me up.

There were many adorable children in full Native American regalia. I just had to snap a picture of them:

The coolest part of the day was The Eternal Fire. Across a walking bridge on an island there was a teepee and two Keepers of the Fire. This fire was started at the beginning of Indian Summer and was to be tended to until the close of the festival. Visitors to Indian Summer could venture over to the island and make a personal intention. We did our pilgrimage to the sacred area and were given some type of leafy substance to place into the fire with our request. Of course I asked that the pilots get a decent working contract. It was strange that women in their Moon Phase (menstrating) weren't allowed to go to the sacred area. (As John, my boss says, "must be some Indian thing.") Two rotating men were appointed to keep the fire burning:

I know, the folding chairs kind of take away from the ambiance, especially the turned over one!

All in all, it was a very informative and FUN day!

Friday, September 7, 2012

Go Orange Fight Hunger!

Well we did it. We went orange to fight hunger yesterday at the Edgewood High School cafeteria....

Marilaine (fourth from the right) set this up for us. She received a postcard in the mail from Channel 15. If she got us all to dress in orange, took a pic and then posted it on NBCs Channel 15s Facebook page, Ulitmaite Spa would donate THREE meals to Second Harvest Foodbank. WE DID IT!!

Monday, September 3, 2012


It has been a simply delightful Labor Day weekend! Katie decided to come home for the weekend (heehee she's only been at college for seven days!). So Jim left on Friday and picked her and her friend, Jules, up and drove the three hours back home. He delivered Jules to her doorstop and my Katie-Girl to me! It was pretty late on Friday so all we did was a lot of hugging and catching up...

Saturday I got up, and walked Maggie around Pheasant Branch. All the way around. It's been the first time since her surgery that she's wanted to do that! Yes, Maggie had surgery last week, Tuesday. She had her left blind eye removed because it was causing pressure and severe pain. So many people wished her well and a speedy recovery, which I truly think helped. For that we are very grateful!
Not so bad. 
We've decided to lovingly nickname her "Winky."

As you can see above, Katie dressed in her pretty floral frock and we ventured to our favorite stores:

Where we purchased some gym wear for Katie for her dance class. I also found two REALLY CUTE knit tops, one from Cable and Gauge and the other from One A. In the same mall is a specialty dance shop called Rosy Cheeks. It's the cutest darn store:

We purchased two leotards and dance tights for Katie.
I have a dancer girl!!

Then Katie proceeded to do homework the rest of the day and night. The conservancy theater program really makes its kids work hard...

On Sunday I got up, went to BodyPump. Jim and I went to church at 11 am and then ventured downtown to State Street (Katie had to stay home and do homework) to go to THE TASTE OF MADISION:

We both got gyros From House Gyros. Then I wanted to compare cupcakes from Gigi's and Daisy's Cafe. I had a chocolate cupcake from Gigi's that was phenomenal. The cupcake was fresh, homemade, moist and simply delicious. The frosting was just the right proportion to the cupcake--LOTS--and was a creamy buttery, sugary delight. Daisy's cupcake, on the other hand, was not so good. The cake part tasted boxed. The frosting was nothing to write home about and the price was a whole dollar more than Gigi's. So I say Gigi's YES and Daisy's definetely NO! I plan on going to the real Gigi's at the Hilldale Mall AGAIN.

Jim, Katie and I rounded out the weekend with a star-gazing night time walk around Pheasant Branch. What a GREAT way to end a GREAT weekend!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

My Favorite Things of Summer

Well I guess I can say SUMMER IS OFFICIALLY OVER. Both girls are back at COLLEGE. We dropped Katie off this past Friday, delivered her to her new dorm and the college way of life in LaCrosse.  Instead of getting all sad and glumy, at summer's end, I thought I would recount my favorite things.

Here we go:
  • The many, many trips to DEVIL'S LAKE for hiking, climbing the bluff stairs, picnicking, swimming and just sitting on camp chairs and enjoying the soft breeze that always wafts off the lake. Seriously, this is one of my favorite places in the world!

  • Taking ZUMBA GOLD class at Harbor Athletic Club every Monday with Katie. I never told  her this , but that class was designed for senior citizens--haha! It's much slower and easier than the regular Zumba classes (I checked them out).  We loved the instructor of Zumba Gold. Katie and I always walked out of class invigorated and yet at peace--a very weird state of mind!
  • The WALK TO A PUB with my neighbor friends. We walked to the downtown area, picked out one exotic cocktail, sipped it,  and then walked back to our homes in the early evening.
  • Jim and my BAYFIELD TRIP. It was so good to get away and go some place we both had never been before. The restaurant with the flamingoes (there must have been 200!) was so yummy and fun. Loved our first experience at a B & B--thank you Pinehurst!

  • WALKING ALMOST EVERY MORNING WITH MY NEIGHBOR FRIENDS. I always enjoy this summer ritual. We walk either around Pheasant Branch or we walk to Barriques for a cup of iced coffee than back home again. Come fall this ends, as we all go back to our school jobs. But maybe that's what makes it so special, it is just a summer thing!
  • MALLARD'S GAME & ALMOST RYTHM AND BOOMS. We have been doing this for at least the past six years and it is a very special day/evening. During the fireworks I usually recount the year and think about the year to come. (Maybe it's a good thing we didn't go because Katie had heatstroke. It was a very trying year and it's best to let some things just simply...go.)
  • VISITING BECKY IN CHICAGO. I can literally still taste those Bop Burgers!

  • OPENING CEREMONY OF THE OLYMPICS. I loved this day. I ran down to Chicago and picked Becky up. Meanwhile Katie was busy at home making the fruit truffle dessert. Jim was making his creamed peas and the fish and chips were in the freezer ready to be baked. We had a fantastic night with our scrumptious English dinner fare.
  • THE 25th ANNUAL PUTNAM COUNTY SPELLING BEE. I can honestly say this was my favorite musical that Katie has performed in. I loved her character--Logainne, the lisp speaking, two dad girl of 12. SHE WAS ABSOLUTELY PERFECT! And that SMILE when Bruin took the pic of the three of them--simply one of my all time favorite Katie performance moments!

  • APT. Really what is more fun than good food, surrounded by good friends and family, sipping a really good glass of chilled sweet wine?? Followed by THEATER???
  • IRISH FEST. Okay and my favorite moment of that was DUM DUM MAN. I will always be able to conjure up the image of the middle aged man, bearded, dred locks, long grungy coat and the bouquet of Dum Dums that he said were laced with acid. I'm still going--what the????
DROPPING KATIE OFF AT COLLEGE. Okay, I almost put this in a category of "sad" all by it's lonesome self, but she's doing so well there! She's only been there since Friday--2 1/2 days--but she's made tons of friends, has adapted well to sharing a dorm room, and is HAPPY!

IT's been a delightful summer full of fun, relaxation and family and friends! What more could I want out of life?

Tuesday, August 21, 2012


I just had to do it--I had to post my first day of school photo. Yes, I'm a dork! Or maybe just sentimental. All those first day of school photos of my daughters, why can't I have one?? I do work at a school and IT IS the FIRST DAY OF SCHOOL.

Monday, August 20, 2012


Becky, Katie and I trekked down to Milwaukee this past weekend to go to one of their ethnic festivals--Irish Fest--and had so much fun! It took us two hours to get there, but it was SO WORTH THE DRIVE!! We found parking right off Interstate 794 for $5:00 (across the street they wanted $20.00!). Then we walked a couple of of blocks and were bombarded with the cool entrance:

Once we got through the gate we were greeted by these two lovely people:

What a cute couple, right?

Then, us Gehrmann Girls shot to the food booths (it was a long ride, remember?):

My food is in the foreground. I decided to go healthy so I could indulge later in the evening. I chose the grilled salmon, plain baked potato and steamed veggies (me good). Katie had the Sheppard's Pie and Becky had the Irish Stew over a baked potato. We had a chuckle over the featured "Irish Nachos" (don't worry, we weren't that gullible).

We wondered through the market, viewed a wonderful Titanic display, browsed the culture tent and of course had to do our share of:

Leprechaun searching! (Unfortunately we didn't find any.)

Of course we just had to, had to:

Stroll through the children's area. See how Katie was able to embrace her inner child whereby Becky opted for model pose?

And eat dessert:

HUGE carrot cupcakes and Irish Coffee (no Whiskey BUT Irish Cream flavoring) YUMMY!

Then it was off to see THE BANDS. Did you know that the Bluegrass genre of music came from IRELAND? Well we didn't know that. We saw the most incredible band:

They were called Punch Brothers. One of their songs was actually included on the soundtrack for The Hunger Games. The were really GOOD!

But the best part of the evening was the two weird guys who sat down next to us while we were watching Punch Brothers. Both men had dred locks, beards, long wool coats and looked downright sketchy. I told Katie to scootch down to to the right a bit (away from the weirdos). She picked up her purse and said "well, it's getting kinda late." I took her hint and said "we should probably get going." Then as Becky and Katie were walking past the weirdos one pulled out a bouquet of wrapped Dum Dums. He told them "want to dry a lollipop, they have LOTS of acid on them!" Well as you can probably figure, Mommy-Mode stepped into gear. I shouted "NO!" and pushed the girls forward and away from the two Druggies. Then we started laughing and wondering if the whole thing was a hoax, some Theater Majors dressed up and playing the part of quintessential Bob Marley Listening Hippies. Or were they FOR REAL? Scary, huh?

We did one final bathroom stop and then Becky insisted we buy Kettlecorn for the long way home (good job, Becky!

All and all it was an evening of laughs and good food and good company!