Real (non-plastic) flamingos and a pretzel the size of my head.

Check out this photo of me and my parents. We’d just finished up an excellent lunch and wine tasting at Stable Rock Winery & Distillery in Jefferson last Friday and had half a day of exploration left.

Looks perfectly innocent, right? Approximately 60 seconds after Tara took this pic, I stepped off a curb because I was gawking at the scenery and rolled my left ankle. My foot swiveled to the inside at a 90-degree angle before popping back into place.

The pain, of course, was immediate. There were a terrible few seconds when I had no idea how much damage I had done. Rather than collapse into a sobbing heap in the parking lot like I wanted to — I’ve got an image to uphold, yo — I figured the best thing to do was to walk it off.

Walking it off probably isn’t the best thing to do, but I figured if I kept moving, I could will the joints and ligaments back into place and prevent a serious sprain.

I’m very good at manifesting, remember?

Fortunately, my ankle wasn’t broken. It swelled up and was sore for a couple of days, but I kept it iced and elevated when we weren’t running all over southern Wisconsin showing my folks around, and within a couple of days, was back to normal. I skipped my usual walk on Saturday, but was right back at it the next day and haven’t stopped since.

Figuratively speaking. I’m not walking 24/7.

Good thing too, as I’m still in between health insurance policies. I shudder to think how much money a broken ankle might have set me back.

About that lunch. We ordered a charcuterie board that was advertised as having a “massive assortment of German deliciousness” and served four. It included four different types of bratwurst, cheese, pickles, sauerkraut, potatoes, pickled red cabbage, and a Bavarian pretzel that was as big as my head. When they brought over the platter, we wondered out loud, how are we going to eat all that food?! Thirty minutes later, it was obvious that wasn’t an issue.

My parents are due to land in Portland any moment now, after leaving Madison very early this morning and flying to Dallas first. It’s always weird when you have houseguests for several days and then suddenly they’re gone. Even though they stayed in a hotel down the street and we were on our own most days from mid-evening to late morning, I can feel the void created by their absence.

It was a nice visit. I am certain of two things:

  • They were charmed by Fort Atkinson
  • They will not be visiting in the winter

Something to do with snow and cold. Whatevs! Some of us live for that stuff. I pointed out to my dad that at least there wouldn’t be any mosquitoes or humidity to contend with in December, but he was having none of that.

There were a few highlights of their visit. My dad wanted to check out the Henry Vilas Zoo in Madison, one of only a handful of admission-free, community-supported zoos across the country. I don’t want to get into a debate over the ethics of caging animals; it was a fun way to kill a few hours, and for a free zoo, there was an impressive selection of exhibits. Even flamingos, which as you’re probably aware, I have a bit of an obsession with. And a red panda, which I had never seen before.

They also enjoyed the traditional Friday fish fry at a window-side table overlooking the Rock River in Fort Atkinson, and the Thai Pavilion at Olbrich Botanical Gardens, and the fresh apple cider doughnuts at Ski-Hi Fruit Farm in Baraboo. Not to mention all the fall colors that are really beginning to pop.

It was a great visit and the weather was perfect. A little chilly in the mornings, but sunny and about 65-70º each afternoon.

Next year’s pretty far away. I wonder if I can tempt my parents back in the dead of winter with the promise of another giant pretzel?

55 thoughts on “Real (non-plastic) flamingos and a pretzel the size of my head.

  1. I feel like the title of this post was click bait for me, especially since I haven’t read your previous two posts yet. Even if not intentional, it worked. In addition to also appreciating flamingos and pretzels, I too rolled my ankle/foot (hard to tell exactly what happened as the whole area is swollen still days later) and am on crutches. You got off easy. Looks like a great visit with the ‘rents, though.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Me? Tempt people to read with a click bait-y title?! Never!

      Sorry to hear you’re on crutches though. I rolled my ankle once before, many years ago, and it was worse that time. There just might be something to this whole walking-it-off thing after all.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. It’s funny: I noticed that there are books that I read years ago, as a young(er 😁) girl, that given a sufficient interval I can read again, and even though I theoretically know their plot, enjoy them as if they are new again. Has that ever happened to you?

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Sorry about your ankle, but glad the damage wasn’t too severe. Honestly I think you just wanted to imitate your beloved flamingo and stand on one leg.
    Sounds like a good visit/tour with your folks.. and the foliage is lovely.

    Liked by 2 people

  3. I’m a sucker for a story with a twist. so I couldn’t resist a post with “a pretzel the size of my head” headline. Turns out I enjoyed the whole body of the post, including the pix. Now, hoping you’re able to stomach my puns, I leave you, trusting that you have some Tums on hand (just in case).

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m sorry about your ankle. Ouch! But laughed out loud at “Figuratively speaking. I’m not walking 24/7.”

    Great zoo pictures! So glad you had a lovely time with your parents – how fun to have someone come visit so soon after your move to show around and explore with!

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Ouch on the ankle! I did that on Maui and it wasn’t much fun. Ice and elevation are the way to go! I could eat that whole pretzel myself; I love them! Your visit with your parents sounds like it went great! I have to agree with them though (as a fellow PacNW person), I don’t like to travel in the winter. I did so several times to New York when my daughter lived there, and it had some very scary moments. I love red pandas!!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Well, I’m going to now have to have a soft pretzel tomorrow…or maybe three to equal what that monstrosity looks like. I sprained my ankle so badly one year I thought breaking it would have been a quicker heal. It took a few weeks for me to feel confident on it. The zoo animals are very good-lookin’ (real flamingo > plastic flamingo) but that fall foliage really caught my eye. Enjoy…and heal!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. I want a pretzel. I do not want a flamingo of any kind, although I love the stories of the one that has been hanging out in Texas since he flew away from the zoo. Spawn got his ankle kicked and rolled by the opposition’s cleat about 14 days ago. We insisted on ice and Advil and no practice. Swelling and a nice bruise. 10 days ago he insisted it was fine and took the field. Bit my nails the whole game, which they won, but ankle did okay. Youth!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Sorry about the ankle, but it sounds like it healed up quickly. Aren’t red pandas the cutest things?? They look incredibly soft. I’m glad your parents had a good visit with you. I would have had no problem eating that whole pretzel. Just sayin!

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Many years ago, my youngest daughter and I made plans to visit the zoo in that city; however, we were too late to secure a parking spot before it closed. BUT, reading this post brought back memories of the zoo, and it made me think that we ought to make Madison a destination for the weekend.

    That German charcuterie looks delicious. Only in Wisconsin…which is a darn shame. 😂

    I hope your ankle feels better.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. I absolutely ADORE Red Pandas, and have to swallow principles about caged animals in order to take a billion photos of them. I’d never heard of one before I met Himself, but we now seek them out wherever we go.

    I can see I’m going to have to seriously up my manifestation game, by which I mean start…. 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Naturally you’d find the flamingoes. I’d expect nothing less from you. As for the pretzel, don’t they have portion controls in Wisconsin? That’s one doozy of yummy-looking thing. Hope your ankle is okay.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “Portion control” and “Wisconsin” are oxymorons!

      I spent more time looking at those flamingos than any other exhibit. So much time, in fact, that the rest of my group had wandered off and I didn’t even realize it.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Bad news/good news about the ankle. My neighbor actually broke hers last spring in a similar oops and it set her back quite a bit. I can’t blame your parents – I swore to never go back there in the winter as well.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. OK, I already knew I loved your parents, even though I have never met them and don’t recall if I had ever even seen a photo of them before. The reason? I’m with them in wanting to avoid a snowy and cold Great Lakes adjacent winter! And does the fact that they live in Portland basically explain your long sojourn there before you became a cross-country mover?

    Anyway, I AM WITH YOU re enjoying fall colors, new sights and foods in our respective new homes in the same general area. I ordered a Laker Wrap at a local pub last night and had to correct myself after first say Lakers! I also tried a Moscow Mule for the first time. I enjoyed the latter more than the former but still when in Rome…

    On my area sightseeing jaunts I have spent some time in Grand Rapids. (Read a little about that when you’re ready. Yes I finally posted again so I can’t help nudging one of my few – regular, I hope – followers to check it out) !I’m also with you in that zoos are not my thing though like your dad a free one probably would have been a draw for me. I have not been to any of them around here, including the ones in Grand Rapids or Battle Creek or Kalamazoo. Heck I’m not sure which of the latter two has one! I also never visited the closest one, in Knoxville, when I lived in Oak Ridge. The only thing that might have drawn me there was their red panda exhibit, based on the unbelievably fond memories I have of dying a stuffed raccoon red to stand in as a red panda for one of my daughter’s elementary school class projects on endangered species! Not a fan of real raccoons after a near encounter with one in my house. The near look-alike red pandas are still cute, though. Maybe that’s because I can only see one from a distance?


  14. I did enjoy the photo of you and your parents and then I gasped reading about your twisted ankle. OUCH. My husband and girls are prone to the same thing and roll theirs all the time…so I literally felt your pain. Thanks for making me giggle at your point of ‘walking off’ an injury like that.

    I wonder where the Flamingos go during the winter? Or do they have special heated coats for them? What about their feet in the snow? So many questions…


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