our little library


we live in a 3 condo, stucco building with these colored doors with big address numbers on them. (And for those of you who are wondering... No I did not put the numbers on the doors or pick the font. Yes those doors were in part what make me think I should live here.)

And we wanted a Little Free Library for our front yard. John thought it should look like our condo building. He designed and built it, Jamie consulted, Dave donated most of the materials, my brother Bill cut the vinyl numbers and I embellished it. We unveiled it at a neighborhood get together. We are delighted with the results and that our street has one.

For those of you who do not know about the Little Free Library you can read about them at www.littlefreelibrary.org/. By now there are probably about 3,000 of these. The idea is to bring a book and take a book.

Our Library is the Paul Jacobi Memorial Library. Thanks to Paul our small neighborhood street gathers together 3-4 times a year to enjoy each others company and keep up with the comings and goings of our neighbors. We were invited to our first get together even before we closed on our condo. We live in a great place and this Little Free Library is a very nice addition.

BIG thanks to John who got the idea and executed it so well!


stay-cation, days 6 & 7

The very things that make me a good work from home person work against me on a stay at home vacation. I didn't mentally go on vacation until Friday. Very bad. I tried, I really did. But I was having problems the week before trying to generate New Orleans Doodles and was emailing some really smart tech support guys. When they would send me a suggestion I had to try and email back. So I spent quite a few half days doing this. But on Friday I managed to send the files to myfonts.com. That meant I was finally on vacation.

John made his lemon ricotta pancakes. Always good, always a treat.

One morning we took the kayaks to Mud Lake for a little morning outing.

And John came across a young goose whose foot was trapped under a board. He paddled into the group of hissing birds and managed to free the bird. Since we were kayaking in a rather remote area I am sure he was the only person who would have done that.


And we saw the movie Intouchables at Sundance which was very good, both sad and touching. I thought sad, John thought touching.

If I ever do another stay at home vacation I am not going to turn on my work computer and just do email from my Air or something like that...



stay-cation days 3, 4 and 5

Day 3 was a quiet little day. John golfed 27 holes and I fought the font and cleaned. I know, not vacation but it kind of is when you don't really have to do it. We made a nice little dinner and then had a night time Miata ride. Yesterday was non-stop as well as our 25th Anniversary! Started with a trip to Apple to get John's iPhone issue taken care of. And then on to the SWAP Shop in Verona. We had never been there. SWAP is UW-Madison's Surplus With A Purpose. It is a way to dispose of the State's surplus property. We got a 2 drawer Steelcase filing cabinet and a wire shelving unit for John's closet for $35. The also have an  Online Auction site. Yesterday I saw a card catalog on the auction but it seems to be gone now.

Then on to Epic, another place we had not been. All I can say is WOW. The size of the campus, the visual beauty of everything, the quiet, the openness, the colors, the art.

This was the visitors parking lot. And it was full, we squeezed in one of the last remaining spot.

You can walk the grounds, wander though the buildings and even take pictures but not videos.

Lots of funky, contemporary art everywhere.

Everything is themed... this was the circus conference room.

In case you don't know. Epic makes software for mid-size and large medical groups  and hospitals. Founded in 1979, Epic is private and employee-owned.

Their campus is HUGE, they are finishing up one set of buildings and starting on another. As I said everything is themed... the newest group of buildings will have a farm theme. We were amazed that visitors can just go out there and wander around. If you have a group you can get a tour, since we were just 2 we were given a handout and left to do a self guided tour. We were glad that we made the time to go out and wander around.

And today is the halfway point of our week. John is out golfing and I am going to give the bad font another shot. I think it is just a puttering kind of day which I love. Ending with lemon ricotta pancakes with blueberries for dinner.

stay-cation day 2

Full day. Busy day. Good day.

We started out with breakfast at 8 Seasons Grille. We had not been there but it has been recommended by several people. We were not disappointed. Homemade fare from local ingredients with a menu that changes seasonally 8 times. I had the chilaquiles and John had the breakfast burrito. It was cool enough to eat outside. We will go back for sure.

I fussed with my non working font some more.

And went for a kayak ride with my neighbor Kathy.


We then went to see To Rome with Love, a Woody Allan movie with our friend Jane. We critiqued it after with a glass of wine. We liked it. I read a review that was critical but I enjoyed it.

Each night we are going for a ride in the Miata with the top down. We ended our evening stopping to watch the sunset at Tenney park. Perfect little vacation day. Less planned for today. But who knows what the day will bring.


stay-cation, day 1


Easing into our stay at home vacation. John worked 4 hours and I went to the farmer's market. Then I came home and fought with my font and lost. Again.



John did some errands on his way home and knew I needed these 4 little flashlights. You can have them too. $1.99 ea. at Walgreens. These are the 4 colors.

Dinner was the pesto, tomato, goat cheese & sausage pizza above. I used a store bought crust but grew the basil and tomatoes. I made a nice little walnut pesto for the base. Quite good.

We are trying to get the hang of being here and not working or working on something. It may take a couple days. The heat has finally broke so I think it is time to move to the Adirondack chairs.


I [should have] VOTED TODAY

I found this sticker on the ground the morning after Scott Walker won the recall election and sighed.

As Fighting Bob LaFollette said long ago, “Mere passive citizenship is not enough.” At the very least, why can’t Americans vote at more than the a 50-60% level? Many countries turn out far more of their citizens to vote—we tend to take our precious democracy for granted when we shouldn’t.

The night of June 5, after sixteen months of working very hard—especially in the last four days—I was exhausted and heartbroken when I heard the election results. My first thought was, I’ll never work like this again because it hurts too much to lose. When I simply cast a vote, my investment is much smaller and my loss less painful . . .

By the next morning, I learned it was likely that Democrats had taken back the Senate by a slim margin. Since control of the Senate is a powerful step toward balance and fair representation, that was very encouraging news.

But I had already decided that it was well worth working so hard for 16 months! Here’s why:

1.     It was so much fun making new friends and working hard together with joyful determination and shared purpose. I mean, I even got to sing backup with the Solidarity Sing Along for Jackson Browne and Tom Morello! Who would have guessed?

2.     It was all a learning experience. Sixteen months ago I knew nothing about our state government and its proud history as the laboratory of democracy. I did not l know how to use social media—or all of the words to 30 songs and labor ballads.

3.     It was an enormous privilege to witness the birth of a new and important movement that is just beginning and will continue. Protecting our democracy and fighting for economic justice will be a lifetime project for me I suspect.

4.     I hung around very spunky, admirable people and learned from them how to be bold, work hard, and stand up for what I think is right. And when we lost our bid to recall Scott Walker, there were lots of people to hug.

5.     I’ve learned that our power is in our creativity and in trusting relationships. I’ve never been a witness to such enormous creativity from so many people. (And I majored in art!) Please watch this video for some homemade grassroots inspiration. A highlight for me was holding the lights one night on an overpass. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2UE249ah5K4&feature=youtu.be

6.     I’ve learned about the corrupting effect of Citizens United on our democracy. Posterboard and people power are very effective ways to bring visibility to an election, but sadly, were not enough to beat a billionaire–funded campaign flooding the airwaves with Walker’s misinformation since November. Please read this article and check out the graph showing Walker's astonishing spending advantage vs Barrett. Also remember Walker had been campaigning for seven months. Barrett was his opponent for four short weeks. It begs the question, “Did Wisconsin have an Election or an Auction$$$ on June 5?”  http://www.motherjones.com/mojo/2012/06/wisconsin-walker-recall-money-stats

After a rest from our labor, we’ll need to learn from what we’ve done so far and dig deep for more ways to win an election when wildly outspent. The rest of the country will have to learn how to do that, too, if the far right is to be defeated in any election.

(And can we please ban political TV ads and phone calls? People are fed up with it all and would be ripe for insisting that their lawmakers pass a bi-partisan law here in Wisconsin.)

No it is Not Too Late!


Wisconsin needs you like it never has before.

If you’re reading this post on Monday morning, June 4, you can help get out the vote for Tom Barrett and Mahlon Mitchell all day today and tomorrow, the two most critical days of the recall effort. To call or canvass, visit http://www.wearewisconsin.org/volunteer/ for office locations and contacts. Find out how to help Lori Compas win her battle against Senator Scott Fitzgerald at http://www.loricompas.org/ All four Senate recall races are close, so please lend a hand if you are in those districts.

Then—quick! grab some magic markers and poster board. Create your own low-budget “VOTE WALKER OUT” ad campaign and get out on the streets of your city or town. One person, one sign is a sign brigade, but find a few others to join you and it’s even more fun. Let’s put people-powered signs everywhere. Believe it or not, there are thousands of people around the state who do not know there is an election June 5.

Use Facebook invitations or send email blasts to your friends. Be creative and find a way to remind voters, especially young voters, that polls are open from 7-8pm. My dream is that many people who have never voted in their lives will decide, “This is the time to make my voice heard!” Let’s make sure we have a record turnout despite GOP efforts to make voting more difficult.

Here’s some information about the most crucial, yet confusing issues:

•  You do NOT need photo ID to vote in the recall election.

•  If you register on Election Day, bring a document with your name and voting address. This must be: a recent utility bill (electric, cell, phone, cable, etc.); a lease; a bank statement; a pay check; an employer ID card; a government document or check; a letter from a homeless shelter; a college photo ID along with a university fee receipt or list of dorm residents; a driver’s license or a state ID.

•  If you are a student living away from your parents, you can choose to vote where you live to go to school OR where your family’s home is. You may only vote once. If you moved between May 9 and June 5, you need to register and vote at the address you lived at BEFORE moving.

Let’s make sure that, win or lose tomorrow, we know we’ve done everything we can to beat the huge out-of-state funding advantage that has controlled perceptions to put a positive spin on Scott Walker, the most divisive governor in Wisconsin history.

If you can be at the Capitol at 8pm on Election Day, join us in a one-hour Solidarity Sing Along, and then watching election returns at The Majestic on King Street. It will be good for your nerves, heart, and soul.

Wisconsin Needs Healing


A right wing group called Citizens for Responsible Government has done something Nazi-like in Wisconsin. I don’t say that lightly. I’m in the midst of reading Erik Larson’s account of the rise of fascism, In the Garden of the Beasts. I’m heartsick that a conservative group would stoop to a similar style of exposure and attack, one calculated to sow neighbor vs. neighbor suspicion and fear.

One morning last week, an anti-teacher flier was delivered to Janesville, Wisconsin residents with their morning paper. (The Janesville Gazette had no knowledge of the plan). The flier attacked teachers, in an attempt to retaliate against those who signed the Recall Walker petition. Salaries and names of 321 teachers were listed. At the bottom of the flier was a "Parents' Rights Protection Form" urging parents to send it to Superintendent Karen Schulte and request that "my child be assigned to a classroom taught by a non-radical teacher during the 2012-2013 school year." This is just one example of the Divide and Conquer approach we must reject on June 5.

Fortunately there was a contrasting event last week. I traveled to Jefferson High School to watch candidate Lori Compas debate her opponent Senator Scott Fitzgerald. She called the Senator to account for his divisive policies with a gutsiness and grace that made me proud to be her supporter. We need people who are kind and respectful, yet brave and strong enough to refuse to tolerate wrongdoing. You can find out how to volunteer or donate to Lori at http://www.loricompas.org

I’m hoping that Tom Barrett will be our next governor. When I watch this video, I see his good-humored inclusive manner. Just like Lori’s style, Tom’s style is very different from Walker's arrogant, combative tone. Watch the reaction of the Stand With Walker people holding signs when Barrett shakes their hands.

What could happen in the next 2 weeks if we all walk up to our opponents, shake their hands and smile

whenever we see them? Let’s remember while we are getting ut the vote that we can be strong and kind.