Tag Archives: wisconsin

Graduation Time

grad capNope, no one in my house is graduating. But for some reason I found myself going back and reading all of the graduation posts that I had written for my kids. I guess it is that time of year. It all seems so long ago, and like yesterday at the same time.

I will tell you that here on the other side, we are all doing great and happy to have made it.

Here is a little roundup for those who are going through the graduation dance. Don’t worry, I promise, you will all be just fine.

Jana’s High School Graduation

Danny’s High School Graduation

Jana’s College Graduation

Danny’s College Graduation

Iko’s Obedience School Graduation (JK, if you have ever met her you would know she would definitely be a dropout!)

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Filed under childhood, college, danny, daughters, education, family, gary, humor, Iko, Jana, moms, parenting, pets, school, wisconsin

Time to Cry Tuesday – Camp Trunks and Badger Tickets

For the past 13 years I have packed 22 camp trunks and duffles. When the kids were young, this was a process that started weeks in advance. I was old school and insisted upon sewing all the name tapes. Clothing and linens lined the living room with stacks of plastic boxes filled with quarters, phone cards (no cell service there), bug spray, bandaids… and every item that I could think of to keep them prepared. (still not sure what the thumbtacks were for)

The ritual of buying toiletries, packing them in plastic shoe boxes and having a ‘family mall day’ to buy new sneakers, socks and whatever else they needed, was part of the June frenzy that parenting spawns.

This year I have one kid heading back up to the Adirondacks for his 11th summer, his 4th as a counselor. The familiar comment, ‘the trucks go out on Monday’ that used to elicit a slight sense of panic deep in my soul was now answered with, ‘hey, maybe we should take them out of the attic’. And that comment was on Friday.

Family mall day yielded one item, a new pair of crocs. No new socks or sneakers were purchased; we have finally learned that 8 weeks at summer camp ruins them both and new ones should be bought at the end of the summer.

My boy has been a counselor of young kids for 3 years and can fold better than I can at this point. He has moved out of a dorm and into an apartment and packed to come home from Wisconsin on his own for the past 2 years. My role in this was more about tradition than real need. And the chance to share an activity that we both knew was probably going to be the last. Bittersweet, indeed.

This morning, that trunk and duffle – packed in under 2 hours – sat in the front hallway and the biggest excitement of the day was his waking at 8:15 to get online for the lottery for Badger season football tickets.

June is a whole different month than it was when they were little!

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Filed under camp, Time to Cry Tuesdays

Time to Cry Tuesday – The Purging Hoarder

Ok, I admit it, I am pretty sure I am a hoarder. My friend Karen tells me admitting it is half the battle.

So here is the thing; I am not the type of hoarder that has 50 cats or collects scraps of string till you can’t open a closet without being tied up in a web. I surely do not have dressers full of restaurant napkins or every pair of shoes since 1979. But I do tend to ‘keep stuff’. You know, because you never know when you will need it.

So, in blows hurricane Irene, and with it she takes away our power and decides to dump a nice helping of water in our sump pump that has no power to get rid of it. And there sits my office on the other side of that mess. Long story short, it became time to purge the contents of my office, take apart the oversized furniture and rip up the rug.

Although daunting at first, this has become not only cathartic, but almost enjoyable. Closing in on my birthday (yes,I am finally turning 40 : ) I have had the joy of finding long lost items and sentimentalities that have taken me on a journey back to long forgotten places. Here are the top five highlights, in no particular order.

1. A Diane Arbus book with an inscription from my best friend from camp on my 16th birthday! We have lost touch and it prompted me to find her. We have been writing and catching up on each other’s lives. As she quoted, ” Geography is the enemy of friendship.” I am trying to fix that.

2. Countless pieces of artwork and writing from my kids. Jana always says she wishes she and Danny could hang out with little Danny and little Jana.

This week we did. With a ‘You are the Best Mom in the Universe’ card, diaries, handmade books, photos and the ever famous Venus Williams report with the picture above. (note the A… great content and priceless drawing).

3. My childhood stuffed animal. (yes there are days I am tempted to hug it and rock back and forth in the corner.)

4. A book of drawings and poetry that I wrote in 1971… yeh, it was pretty groovy.

5. A missing case of my favorite CDs that I thought I left in a rental car in Wisconsin 2 years ago.

I still have a lot of stuff, and a lot more to go through. But I am starting to realize that even if I am giving away 10 boxes of books, the ones that stayed behind on the shelves are more important to me than ever; especially the children’s books.

I will never be a minimalist. I keep things that remind me of people, easier times, places, experiences. But I am trying my best to pair them down.

Hey does anybody need a pair of purple fuzzy dice?

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Friends with Benefits


For my family, the only upside of the protests in Madison is the living classroom it provides for my kids. Jana went up to the Capitol to document the event and this is one of my favorite shots.

When teachers are the protestors the slogans are surely one notch up on the clever scale.

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Filed under carry a camera, communities, Jana, politics

Those Crazy Sconnies

Having two kids in Wisconsin I am always on the lookout for interesting Wisco news. I was scrolling through twitter tonight looking for blog fodder and @tsand did not disappoint. I can always count on him to point out the more outrageous things going on in the world. Certainly in Wisconsin!

It seems a 57-year-old woman bit her 79-year-old husband’s tongue off during a kiss, then went outside to sing Christmas carols and blow a New Year’s horn. Fa-la-ooo-la-la! This babe is one wacky Sconnie!

She is being charged with felony mayhem. Felony Mayhem?! WTF, I love that charge. I want to know what other sort of thing falls into that category. Ok, so I could not resist a little googling around for the definition. Here is my favorite definition from The Free Dictionary:

Noun 1. mayhem – the willful and unlawful infliction of injury upon a person, esp (formerly) the injuring or removing of a limb rendering him less capable of defending himself against attack. Crippling, disfigurement, or mutilation of another.

Certainly incapable of defending himself in an argument at this point. Poor guy.

The victim said his wife had been acting strangely in recent days.

Ya think!!

I am still wondering how he could tell them that without his tongue.

Just another Bobbit-esque crime of passion, I suppose. Only milder. Lest we not forget this other famous Sconnie story where the scorned wife Crazy Glued her hubby’s member to his stomach. Do you think she was acting strange the few days before that?

Can’t make this stuff up.

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Filed under absurdities, humor, magnet for the absurd, wisconsin

Hoosier Daddy? – Big 10 Football

Ah, Big 10 football and a rainy morning in Madison, Wisconsin. The late morning kick-off is no reason not to pre-game when you are in college. And for the young woman on the left, the mid-40 degree weather and drizzling chill was no reason to wear sleeves either.

This apartment was a half a block from Randall Stadium and there were no shortages of cheers from the crowd as they passed them by. You have to love the spirit of college football; and the complete joy they get from being fans.

This was the last home game my daughter, the senior, will attend as a student and marked the end of the first season for my son, the freshman. With a final score of  83 to 20 this home season went out with a bang. (this is not the official last home game which takes place Thanksgiving weekend, but it is the last one for my kids). UW set a school record and tied a Big Ten record for points scored and scored more points than any other FBS team this season.

I must apologize to you all for not getting the best shot of the day, which was the two guys walking down the street in the freezing cold rain in nothing but sneakers and badger g-strings.

I know, I am slipping up, sorry.

 

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Filed under carry a camera, college, current events, danny, family, humor, Jana, sports, travel

Time to Cry Tuesday – Badger Fever

 

photo: Jana Levinson

For those who do not know, I have two Badgers. That would be a freshman and a senior at the University of Wisconsin, Madison. And these two bleed red. Well, ok, we all bleed red but they bleed Badger red. Go red. Camp Randall sea of red on game day red.

And if you follow college football, then you would know that this past Saturday night the #11 Badgers beat #1 Ohio State in the game of the decade. As my daughter described it, the place was electric from the moment of kick off. As well it should have been since they scored in the first 12 seconds of the game. The level of intensity never let up. As you can see, they rushed the field at the end of the game; something she had never seen in her 4 years there. Her friend who was visiting said this was up with the top 5 days of her life and she was not even a student there!

But this is not about football. Well it is, but not really. This is about belonging. About a sense of place and feeling a part of something that is way bigger than you could explain, yet it feels like it is simply a part of who you are. My kids are lucky to have had this at camp. And now in college they have what feels like camp on steroids.

81,194 people jammed into that stadium, all chanting, cheering and praying together for that win. For their team. Their school. Their culture. Damn, it does not get better than that.

We go through that crazy college app process praying that our kids will find a place to ‘be happy’. A place they feel they belong. A place to grow that will shape their lives, not just in the classroom, but out as well.

I am a firm believer that much of what they learn there is not academic. The community of Madison has been as strong a teacher for my daughter as her professors have been. I can only hope for the same for my son.

Everyone gets hung up on the career prep in college. Sure we want them to get jobs and be fulfilled and self sufficient. But maybe part of what makes them ready to go out into the world is to know WHO they are, not necessarily WHAT they want to be.

And that, my friends, is something to think about.

 

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Filed under college, danny, family, Jana, Time to Cry Tuesdays