And we’ll have a barrel of fun!

Well, Wisconsin finally woke up and remembered that it’s November.

After a record high of 71º on Thursday – I actually took a walk around the neighborhood in shorts and flip-flops – reality (and a cold front) came crashing in on Friday, when it was almost 40 degrees colder. We knew we’d pay the price for all that abnormal warmth eventually, and truth be told, I’m glad. November is supposed to be cold in this part of the country. People get excited, but “beautiful” weather this time of year is just further evidence of climate change. Mark doesn’t like that.

Mark does like to talk in the third person sometimes, though.

Tara was off for Veterans Day; no such luck for me, but I was able to clock out shortly after noon. We braved the cold to check out a lakeside restaurant and bar called Outpost. It’s a beautiful setting, right on the shore of Lake Koshkonong. There’s even a deck with outdoor seating, which would have been nice a day earlier. Friday, not so much, but we snagged a table right in front of a fireplace. Cozy way to kill a few hours, and I loved the vibe of the place.

Saturday was every bit as cold – and, in fact, it snowed on and off most of the afternoon. Nothing more than a light dusting, but it served as a great reminder that winter is, indeed, right around the corner. In fact, we don’t have a high temperature warmer than 38º in the forecast for at least the next week. And they’re calling for more snow. Sweet!

We ran into Madison to pick up a turkey from Trader Joe’s. Normally we brine our own every Thanksgiving, but with limited fridge space this year, we decided to take advantage of their already-brined turkey. Never had one before, but it seems like a genius idea. And TJ’s can do no wrong, so I’m expecting good things!

Hey, remember when I used to drive five hours to hit up Trader Joe’s? Those were the days, man.

We didn’t want to go all the way to Madison just for a frozen turkey, so we made a half-day of it. Stopped for lunch at Prost!, a German beer hall in a renovated church. Another place with a really cool vibe! Not to mention excellent food. We shared a cup of broccoli beer cheese soup and I got a wurst plate while Tara opted for schnitzel and spaetzel.

Our next stop was Strictly Discs for some record shopping. We bought five albums, and our collection now totals 801. Holy crap! I’m not sure which one put us over 800. Either Stevie Nicks, the White Stripes, Foghat, the Yeah Yeah Yeahs, or Night Ranger.

Yes, we have eclectic tastes.

Trader Joe’s is right next to the record store, so we got our turkey, then stopped into a gift shop called Art Gecko. It’s the type of place that carries lots of Indian and Tibetan products. Incense, tapestries, elephant statues, that sort of thing. They even had a hand-carved flamingo from Bali for $60, but I passed.

For now.

It was late afternoon by that time and we had to get home for the annual holiday parade in Fort Atkinson. Does it seem a little early for that type of festivity? I was thinking yes – Rapid City’s parade is always the weekend after Thanksgiving – but with the bitter cold and even a few snowflakes falling, it seemed perfectly timed.

Yes, that’s a giant shopping cart. There was also a giant tractor and a giant cement mixer. Small town holiday parades hit a little bit differently, but it was good fun.

Afterward, the floats were lined up on the street where we’d parked, so we ducked into a tavern to wait them out. Had a couple of drinks and ended up right in the middle of an impromptu polka party. Nothing screams Midwest quite like that! A group of older folks (naturally) loaded up Touch Tunes with polka music, and everybody was dancing and singing along to “Roll Out the Barrels” and “She’s Too Fat For Me.” They tried to get us to join in, but I simply pointed to my Old Fashioned and said, “I’ll need a few more of these before that happens.”

Well, there was only one more, so that didn’t happen. But it was a surprisingly fun time. Tara and I couldn’t stop laughing. The Wholesome Meter was off the charts.

By the way, did any of you catch the lunar eclipse last week? I did, but unintentionally. I thought it was taking place in the middle of the night and didn’t bother setting an alarm, but when I went out for my morning walk on Tuesday, there was the moon in full-on eclipse mode. Well played, beaver blood moon.

I posted that first pic to Instagram, and my mom commented, “Why is your moon red?!” My parents were vacationing in Ireland and had no idea there was a lunar eclipse in the U.S., ha.

I wanted to be snarky and reply “It’s the end times,” but then Democrat Tony Evers won reelection as governor of Wisconsin and the predicted “red wave” never materialized, so maybe there’s some hope for us all yet.

46 thoughts on “And we’ll have a barrel of fun!

  1. River does not like climate change and warm temps in November either but it seems that’s all she’ll get this year. It’s currently 65 and raining. In Maine. 😠
    Those look like some great places for beer and nibbles. Glad you’re exploring your new surroundings and getting a feel fur the place. Looks like fun!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Every time you post Mark I am captivated by all the things you have available to you and how you and Tara are embracing Wisconsin life. The Polka party mention brought back 9th grade PE class and mandatory folk dancing. This would have been 1975 roughly. Who in their right mind thought that teaching a group of girls folk dancing was necessary in 1975? Had they turned down the lights, flipped on the disco ball and turned up some Bee Gees or Donna Summer that would have made perfect sense.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I think I’d have to pass on the polka due to never really being exposed to it. It sounds like fun, but I wouldn’t know where to “begin.” It has been 70 degrees here in Philly the last few days…but here comes winter. In the 20’s at night next week. Our holiday parades around here are most always after December has begun. Yours does sound a little early but then again, with the winters you have up there maybe it is best to do them pre-Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I was hoping to see the lunar eclipse, red moon and all, and then we got a thick cloud cover, none for us until 2025 now?

    Speaking of Trader Joe’s, have you had a chance to try the delectable Dark Chocolate Honey Mints? All their ingredients are in their name, what’s missing is how scrumptious they are 😀

    Liked by 1 person

  5. We went to a brewery over the summer that’s in a really old church in Kent. Loved it and I love the look of Prost. Any chance it was a German Lutheran church?

    I freaking LOVE the Yeah Yeah Yeah’s. About as much as I hate Night Ranger! Ha!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Third person Mark is just as funny as first person Mark. Who’d have guessed?

    Love the pictures – the moon eclipse is awesome. And the parade so very imaginative. But I hope by next year you’ll join in.

    Such a fun post – you always make me smile! Hope you and Tara have a great week to come. Hope you have room for us all to squeeze in for brined turkey at Thanksgiving!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. It seems that Wisconsin woke up enough to reelect Tony Evers as Governor, but not enough to replace Ron Johnson as Senator. Luckily, the latter outcome didn’t cost Dems control of the Senate, so the glass is half full AND half empty.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. So many places. We had three-day weekends the whole semester plus two ten-day breaks. I stayed in a tiny town nestled in the foothills of the Alps. So much to share over some good beer some day.


  8. I would LOVE a fireplace, although a Scandinavian stove is potential alternative. That said, having a mantel to decorate makes a fireplace more appealing, so….

    That icy lakeside view gave me all the feels. No wonder you enjoyed the experience.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. Your experiences in Wisconsin are charming me. So many new things, but kind of the same old ones, too. Prost sounds like a place I’d like. I’m glad you’re closer to Trader Joes now. Talk about living large!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I was just thinking over the weekend that the phrase “everything old is new again” definitely applies in this case. It’ll be a while before going to Trader Joe’s stops feeling like a novelty, even though it was such a regular part of my life years ago.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. First and foremost, FIVE HOURS from a Trader Joe’s? I’ll never complain about my Trader Joe’s being 30 minutes away again. Thank you for the perspective.

    That German Beer Hall looks incredible. That is definitely on our list of places to visit.

    You mentioned Night Ranger the same week I discovered a Night Ranger song I hadn’t heard in years. This led me to their website, where I discovered that they are still on tour. 40 years later.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. My TJ’s is about 40 minutes away now and I am THRILLED! Keep in mind, in Washington, Trader Joe’s was an easy ten-minute walk away. Go without for a few years and you’ll never complain again!

      What’s the Night Ranger song? I used to be a pretty big fan. Obviously, given the record purchase.

      Liked by 1 person

  11. Glad you’re enjoying the explore of your environs. It’s good to poke around and see what’s what before the snows arrive to blanket the landscape. At that point, you can hibernate and listen to 801 vinyl records!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. That lake view photo is stunning.
    I also love a restaurant with good vibes, and you are finding all of them.
    The parade sounds hilarious and wholesome; I love it.
    It’s so cool that you accidentally caught the eclipse and I love your moms comment.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. How much snow did you get this week? I guess what you get there doesn’t fall into the category of lake effect since you’re on the west coast of the lakes? Western Michigan (and parts of IN, too) are on the east coast which is why we get it here, along with those poor folks in Buffalo. It’s not as bad here but still the first I’ve experienced in my new MI home. My daughter sort of apologized for it by saying it’s the most she’s seen in the 3 years she’s lived here. Maybe she didn’t feel as bad when I told her I agreed with her that it’s really pretty, especially if you don’t have to go out in it!
    Love your polka tunes. I’ve been mulling the one about too fat but changing the gender to he and sending the vibes to my idiot ex-husband’s #4 wife. She can have him; I don’t want him. He’s too fat for me! He’s also been appearing in my dreams lately, of course in a very negative light that makes me want to push him away. In one he was wearing no pants and I’ll let your imagination run wild about how unattractive that looked. In the one last night he really scared me, which is what our relationship had unfortunately actually come to from my perspective. Maybe this is a manifestation of the goal I have stated to my BFF and now to you to get him out of my mind by the end of the year.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s