Sweet Summer Time

I always go into summer thinking it’s going to be quiet and chill. I am not actually sure WHY I think that – I think the only quiet and chill summer I had was the summer of 2006, when I interned 4 hours per day and slept the rest (no joke, coming out of my first year of teaching, I was catching up on ten months of exhaustion) Otherwise I spend my summers working at TFA Institute, or moving across the country. This summer, I have done neither, but work and life have certainly cooperated to fill every spare moment!

Lots of gardening is happening, despite the miserable drought Wisconsin has suffered. Seriously, it rained for about 45 seconds yesterday, and I couldn’t even continue the conversation I was having. The peppers did not survive (something ate them to the ground, but the tomatoes and petunias are doing nicely. I have 9 tomato plants, divided between slicing and paste, and I think I will take up canning as a new hobby this fall – can’t stand to see a single one go to waste!

These little guys are hanging out in the shade and doing ok despite the heat and the dry. I have been informed that they are usually houseplants, so I’ll bring some in in the winter.

Family time has been amazing this summer – it’s so nice to be a short drive away from so many people. ¬†Birthday parties to baseball games, it’s been wonderful to reconnect with my people!

I love this picture – the tiniest person and the bestest Papa ūüôā

Cousins bonding over sunglasses – two handsome guys!

Cory keeping his eye on the ball.

Outfield is somewhat boring, however ūüėČ

Brunch is on a summer hiatus – my little window a/c can’t really cope with the epic production heat, or the crowds, but the last one I threw, in May was a lot of fun – pancakes on the porch, enjoying the early summer breezes. Until the end of my days, I will live somewhere that allows me to sit outside.

The result! Chocolate chip, blueberry, and “plain” pancakes, bacon, eggs, and the requisite bowl of berries. Yum!

Using the last of my eggs from the Tinants – well traveled, and completely delicious ūüôā

Best of all, Milwaukee has proven itself to be a truly excellent city to explore this summer! From custard, to Summerfest, to farmer’s markets, to the South Shore Frolics (this weekend!) there is always something great to do, something amazing to eat, and some excellent music playing. ¬†In Wisconsin, we never quite forget that a long, hard winter is right around the corner, so we get out there and soak up every sunny moment!

Rarely the winner, but always our favorite – wearing number 5 – Chorizo!

We managed to get photos with every racing sausage that day, a minor miracle on a Saturday afternoon!

Taken inside the Northern Chocolate Co – right before I got yelled at for taking pictures…oops!

Lake Michigan in the morning

City Hall is amazing inside! This was also the tallest building in North America at one time.

Going here now! Kopp’s has nothing on this classic ūüôā


Indian Summer – in every sense

Hello! ¬†Sorry for the delay (no one reads this except spammers, and I still feel obliged to apologize – Midwestern, much?). ¬†What did I do last weekend? It had it’s ups and downs for sure. ¬†Including a highly questionable live music act at Frank’s Power Plant near my house. That link does not come close to representing the true scope of the sketch. A dive bar habitue I am not. And the music was deafening. ¬†Anyway.

Saturday – I got up late (because I expended the wakeful years of my twenties in the bars and cornfields of rural Nebraska, and need at least 8 hours of sleep every night now) at around 9. ¬†Yes, that’s late. I was supposed to meet some team members for a brewery tour here, but spent far too much time watching cartoons and working on a craft project. (What? I’m only in my twenties for like ten more months. I can do crafts if I feel like it!). When I finally did get ready to go, and let Leo out – the fool did what he’s been trying to do for the last month – run hell for leather after a¬†squirrel. And refuse to come back. ¬†By the time he did come back, I was already 10 minutes past the start time of the tour. ¬†Fail. Baddog.

A re-enactment of an actual case. Leo appears to be mocking me, and carefully staying out of reach

So, I packed up my thoroughly grouchy, overdressed for the weather, self and got in the car. ¬†As I was driving away, I remembered that the Indian Summer Festival was happening at the summer fest grounds! ¬†The most transformative part of my twenties was spent in the three years I lived, and taught on the Rosebud Reservation at He Dog Elementary School.¬† One of the many aspects of ¬†my education at that time was loving the Lakota culture that my students and their families live and walk within every day. In the last three years, I have collectively spent about 12 days on the Rez, which is shameful – I am contemplating a return visit next month, now that I am only a day’s drive away.

The Indian Summer Festival was really interesting, since it was primarily a showcase of WI Indian cultures – Oneida,¬†Menominee, Ho Chunk,¬†Pottawatomie, and ¬†Mohican nations, though clearly attended by many others. I have a clear memory of being interviewed for my job by Deb Boyd, and Patrice Burnett, who asked me – “what work have you done with the native communities in Wisconsin?” To which I replied (as to so many of their questions), with a confused smile…um, none…I am still amazed that they hired me. Though we had gone through all of the obligatory “westward expansion” units in school, and I even took a course in college around indigenous law, none of it stuck with me. ¬†So, it was as if I was attending this festival as a total outsider. ¬†It was awesome.

I stayed for eight hours.  I ate a brat wrapped in frybread.  I watched some amazing dancing. I reconnected with an old friend from SoDak days. I sat by the lake for a long time and thought about the long road that brought me to this moment, and how much of it has been driven by chance, coincidence, luck, and Рa little grace.

Here is my photo essay. I am so grateful for this¬†experience, the amazing weather, and the memories that don’t fade.

My swag. Sage, barrettes, and the map and schedule for the day. There are two barrettes, but I was wearing one.

The artisan was kind enough to let me take a picture without making a purchase.


Less than 200 years ago, the area now known as Bay View was a large trading center with a diverse native population base. The region was also home to more than 250 effigy mounds, since destroyed to make room for cornfields. This is where I sat to think about the arc of my life.

Female Oneida Dancers

Female Oneida Dancers

Oneida Dancers











Traditional regalia, tipi, and...iphone (not clearly pictured). Yet more evidence that this world is a deeply strange place.

Kiddos enjoying the only real "ride" in the place.

Peruvian musicians, as seen from the skyride.










Grand Entry/Retiring the Colors/Many Eagle Staffs


Photographing amazingly skilled fancy dancers, in rapidly fading light, with my worse -for-wear cheap camera is somewhat less than successful.


The last shot before it got too dark, and i decide to just enjoy watching.