polish + blue moon

This past July was the second annual Polish Moon Bike Ride in Milwaukee. There was also a blue moon! [Maybe they should have had some blue moon ice cream at the event...or we should have gone to Denny's afterwards for some Moons of My Hammy.]

Got sidetracked by moons there for a second. Back to the bike ride. 

Last year was the first event and since it was so great, I had to go back again. Unfortunately my friend Amber and I must have gotten there a bit later than last year and we missed the band. We still got there in plenty of time to grab a bite to eat though. I had amazing tacos from Wayward Kitchen Co. and a Weekend @ Louie's beer, while Amber had a Klement's sausage. Yum. 

Soon after we ate, everyone started to line up. It was such a difference from last year since last year it was SO. FOGGY. It was humid, gross and you could barely see anything. 

The ride started out a bit slow since there were so many people. But once everyone spread out, everything went smoothly. Our only goal this year was to actually hear the accordions. Oh, did I forget to tell you? There were a few guys playing accordions on the route! 

We caught up with two of them and it was everything we expected it to be. Traditional polka songs. TV theme songs. Songs we could all sing along with. 

Since it was a clear evening, we could actually see the Polish Moon [aka Rockwell Clock Tower or Allen-Bradley Clock Tower]! 

Another highlight of the event was riding by people walking down the street, sitting on their steps or looking out their windows. Most had no clue what was going on, but seeing a big group of cyclists put a smile on their face and they would wave. All of us riding would either wave back or ring our bells. 

Oh, I just realized Beth is in the picture above. Hi Beth! [She likes bikes + beer, so you should check out her blog.]

And below, there's Dave. Hi Dave! [He's one of the great people at the WI Bike Fed and takes great pictures.]

Not only because of the great weather did we see the Polish Moon, but also the blue moon. Bonus! 

After the ride we walked down to Purple Door Ice Cream and got some ice cream to bring back and eat while listening to some more polka music at Anodyne. A bunch of people stayed after the ride and most were up front polkaing along with the music. [Fun fact, polkaing is actually a word, even though it sounds made up.] 

It was another successful event. Thanks Bike Fed and all other sponsors! And thanks MKE police for helping keep us safe on the streets! 

lost&found

If memory serves me correct, I first saw Lost & Found at a church youth group event in Stevens Point [most likely in middle school]. My friends and I didn't know any of the words, however, were surrounded by others who did. Also, most of the other people attending brought slinkys. To throw in the air for one song. Weird.

After that concert, the next time we saw them was in Atlanta for another youth gathering. By this time my friends Megan, Amber and I knew most of their songs and were quite excited to see them again. We also knew the slinky [aka Lions <---check out this video for the explanation] song by this point. 

From there we went to many more concerts whenever they made their way to Wisconsin. My mom recalls driving us to a bunch of concerts and she recently told me she always had a great time with us. I'm glad to hear that since thinking back to when some of the only CDs I was listening to were Lost & Found, my parents heard A LOT of their music, especially on road trips. At this point I should maybe point out, their sound is unique. I mean, I think it's great but I know it's a bit jarring to some. 

I remember one of the main highlights at each concert was that George [the keyboardist, recording engineer, music director, photojournalist and beverage consumer] would always take a picture of the crowd and later on this photo would wind up on their website. It's hard to imagine for all you youngsters out there, but back in the day it was super exciting to try and find a picture of yourself online. For some reason seeing our picture on their website from a concert was the best thing ever. 

Also, it should be mentioned these guys are funny. We'd bring up some of their jokes / puns randomly and laugh while retelling them. One saying that is so great is Stein Auf, meaning Rock On in German. However, if you are fluent in German, you will know it doesn't really translate into Rock On and it's more like saying Stone On Top Of. Many years ago while getting my mountain bike repainted, I had Stein Auf! painted on the top tube.

Anyway, enough chatter about the past and onto the concert they had in Lebanon, WI at St. Peters. I've attended this church on multiple occasions over the years, most recently when one of my cousins got married. It's a small, intimate church with lovely stained glass windows.

This concert was part of their farewell tour. I attended with my two friends I went to concerts with years ago. One of them brought her eldest daughter. Hooray for second generation L&F fans! My grandma even attended! She didn't really know what she was getting herself into, but I will admit I saw her laugh a few times. Some of my other relatives were there as well, including Samantha who also was taking pictures

It was fantastic that we got to hear all our old favorites. My friend Megan got to request Banner, which got everyone on their feet in order to do the motions that go along with the song. 

I could go on and on about my favorite songs and memories from over the years, but I'll leave you with these pictures. 

There's still many dates left on their farewell tour! Go see them if they are coming to your town!

P.S. If either George or Michael are reading this, I still really need to know!

Why is BLSQD spelled that way?

And why does my Speedwood CD have a Parental Advisory sticker on it? It's printed on the booklet. I'm quite sure a friend had the same CD without it. [Although, it always made me feel like a bit of a rebel, so thanks.] 

P.P.S. Thanks for all the great memories. Stein Auf!

santa cruz, part 3

On our second full day in Santa Cruz, we left the hotel early in the morning. The last two nights of our trip we stayed at Hotel Paradox. It was not on the beach, but it was a nice hotel none-the-less. The check-in desk was part of a huge redwood and there were nature-esque decor all around, which I'm a big fan of. 

The morning was cloudy and rainy but we were hoping it would clear up by the time we got to our destination to do some sight-seeing. 

Our first stop was at the Baylands Nature Preserve in Palo Alto. It was not raining, so we got to walk around for a bit. The goose below did not like me taking pictures and tried to attack me. 

Because we were still craving tacos, we drove to downtown Palo Alto to go to Tacolicious for lunch. It was still a little early, so we browsed the farmer's market and did some window shopping before making our taco stop. 

The drive to Big Basin Redwoods was beautiful. VERY curvy roads and almost every other vehicle we passed had a Christmas tree they were hauling home. We didn't get to hike that far into the woods since we didn't have much time before we needed to head back. Also - surprise! It started to rain again. 

The only thing I'm bummed I did not see was a banana slug. Maybe next time. 

Before heading to supper, we went to watch the sunset at Steamer Lane. Many others had the same idea and the beach was filled with couples and families trying to soak up the last of the sun before it set. 

Finally it was the night I had been waiting for - the Aimee Mann Christmas show. It was held at the Rio Theater [iPhone pictures below] which was a bit smaller than we had expected. There were a bunch of seats in the middle-front which were reserved but all others were general admission. We decided to sit on the right side, second row. Yes, we were right by the speaker but knew it wasn't going to be deafening. However, we overheard countless people complain before the show about how it was going to be too loud, or they weren't even going to chance it. Wimps! 

Also pre-show, I enjoyed other overheards like:

"I think it's a small band, her husband is here.", referring to Ted [not her husband].

"Who's the opener?" "I don't know but it will be good since she's a music snob."

The show was filled with both comedy and music. The main story was that Santa was murdered backstage and it was Aimee and Ted's job to find the murderer. The opening for the show was an amazing video of "Murder, She Sang". [I just tried to search for the video since I keep hoping it finds its way online. It hasn't but I found the skit from Wits which must have started this idea?]

Along with being excited to see The Both [Aimee and Ted] I was also excited to see comedian Tim Heidecker. I'm pretty sure no one at this theater understood his humor. We, along with maybe one other guy, were the only ones laughing. Santa Cruz - stop being scared of loud music and comedians! 

Anyway, I just want Aimee, Ted and Tim to know - we enjoyed the show! We laughed with you and also at you [well, mainly just Ted in his baby New Year outfit]. 

three turn 60

The weekend after Sam and Drew's reception, we all gathered back into the pole shed for another party! My Aunt Carol, Uncle John and Uncle Bob all turned 60 within a month, so they had a joint birthday party. 

It was quite easy to decorate since most of the work had been done for the weekend before. The flowers in the black tin cans stayed on the tables, we just added some black streamers and balloons. The chandelier stayed hanging from the center of the room, we just added some dangling black crows. 

The biggest difference was instead of pictures of Sam and Drew hanging around the shed, Katie and I made signs to hang up that looked like street signs with names like Wrinkle Road, Baldy Avenue and Saggy Street.

The weather was completely different from the last party. The weekend before it had been very warm and bottled water kept disappearing. On the day of the 60th birthday party, however, it was chilly and instead of running out of water, beer was in high demand! 

There was quite a bit of musical entertainment throughout the night. My husband, known to some as DJ Jazzy Eric, kept some of John, Carol and Bob's favorite music playing while being decked out in John's vintage Don Peachey Band tuxedo shirt. 

Eric got a break from his duties for a while though, when some members of the Lebanon Band brought out their instruments. They played everyone's favorites, which are also the songs you will hear if you ever see the Lebanon Band march in parades. 

The evening ended with some dancing while others played cards. As we cleaned up after everyone had left, Eric snuck out to the car and came back with a wig on. It surprised everyone so much, especially my Grandma who exclaimed she didn't know who that man was.

As far as I know, the lights are still strung in the shed, so umm, let's have another party in there this year!

nick waterhouse

It has been quite a few years since we have gone to Jazz in the Park in downtown Milwaukee. When Eric saw the schedule for this year and that Nick Waterhouse was playing, he put it on our calendar immediately. 

This past Thursday was the concert. It was a beautiful night out - not too hot or too cold. Nick played a great set that made for a fantastic night.