Always ethereal, always eclectic, I write as the mood strikes, when there intrigue reveals itself. Usually that means something controversial or adventure of some sort.

I've tried really hard to be unprovocative, but have as yet been unsuccessful.

Sunday, 19 April 2009

ROUSes, Quaint Coffeeshops, and Gaming

In the light of day, much of what we fear loses its potency. Scary Ass Mouse quite definitely had a different feel to him today. It appears it only requires the right accessories to turn fearsome into the ultimate in cuteness.

Fennimore is an exceptionally small but delightful town. We spent the day there, halfway between Madison and Decorah, relaxing in the atmosphere. There are bike trails just outside of town, where Erin prepared for her MS150 across Wisconsin, and I struggled to keep up. (Note the beginning of a recurring theme.) The countryside, unspoiled by glacial scarring, is like something out of Celtic lore, with winding creeks unstraightened, and stark lone trees, laying claim to the bend in the river.

I think I found the perfect place to build a home, between the trees, abutting the river.
In search of a place to finish our election game we'd started the week before, we found the perfect coffee shop, run by a very friendly family. We talked with the proprietor for perhaps half an hour, learning all about his adventures teaching in Saudi Arabia, and discovered we had much in common. (Erin won the Election Game.)

Our final stop was bowling at the local alley. Erin obtained near double my score; I was striving to copy Obama. You can see here her form was far superior to mine.

We then tried for a game of Settlers,a game we're both passionate about, and I learned to appreciate when in Morocco. This was the Sea-Faring Settlers, particularly attractive because of the ocean. I'll give you two guesses as to who one this game. (I had to continue repeating my personal mantra. "It's not whether you win or lose. It's how you lay the blame." I was...insufficiently prepared for such a formidable opponent. Which probably makes it my parents fault.)

Fear not though. There was this game of Scrabble that I won, once, long ago... I'll just have to adjust to dating an incredibly intelligent and able woman.

And play more games of chance.

Wednesday, 8 April 2009

My Neighborhood is Burning!

As today was a bit warmer, I thought I'd take advantage of the weather for a walk up the nearby hill. But just around the corner, I discovered a great burning sensation.

The neighboring farmer was burning the field next to the creek that borders his land and our neighborhood, in order to keep trees from growing too large and clogging up the creek with their roots. I would think that trees help reduce erosion, but he said these are the wrong kind of trees.

The result was a controlled burn and a partially blackened field, reminding me of the plausible origins of my own name- "island of fire" from burning fields to prepare the land for crops in Finland.

Another fire burning in the distance framed the disturbed birds. The same farmer told me he had actually dedicated this wetlands as a federal bird sanctuary flyway, where he could hunt birds in season, and the rest of the birds could find a place to relax in their travels North and South.

At the top of the hill I found a rusty can, riddled with holes, and spent casings on the ground below. All next to the quarry- for the farmer told me that was indeed what it was, lending greater credence to my earlier rendition of the plot of Brother Sun Sister Moon.

Returning down the hill, I felt a bit like Moses, shocked in his return down the mountain with the stone tablets. I looked down, and it appeared as if my entire neighborhood was burning.

I experienced one last thrill, walking on the straight path, between the flames like Shadrach, Meshack, and Abednego, and pointed the camera straight into the smoke cloud. This is what smoke looks like, while you're choking and have your eyes closed and are hoping your foot doesn't step into the flame.