Friday, August 29, 2014


 I certainly didn't expect anybody else to be with me at my additional rainy day cemetery stop while in the Quad Cities. It has been a while since I paid a visit to people who were part of my extended family for almost 3 decades...

A Momma deer and 2 of her kids were at the woods's edge and then approached with sincere curiosity before continuing on their way after checking out the nut who came out in the rain. Once their curiosity was quenched, off they went. Being teary eyed, I didn't even notice the pic wasn't really in focus. It didn't even matter. Sometimes life is like a blur before we slow down permanently...

Jennifer submitted her ethereal sky photo.

It's difficult to believe not more of you have some out of focus photography to share... 

Never too late to submit a pic /two. 

Check out last week's FOTO FRIDAY's:Favorite August Bloom

Thursday, August 28, 2014

Look What You Did , Anthony Bourdain!

Enjoying book discussion on the Mississippi waters from a houseboat
This month's Happy Booker's hostess went all out for the August meeting  for our discussion of Anthony Bourdain's 'Kitchen Confidential.'  No, she didn't invite the author as we really didn't need him to be present as his words had encouraged some new recipes to be tried and we were all glad to be guinea pigs on a lovely August day as we discussed what goes on in a kitchen whether it be a restaurant /your own home's. 

Since the author's love of food began on the water the first time Bourdain tried fresh oysters as a child in France on a fishing boat, we too met on the water in 'French' Island no less embiding the waters of the 'Mississippi.' Say that with a French accent. 

Our light lunch included Vichyssoise, a yummy cold potato and leek soup, soft Brie cheese with thick French baguette slices, Chicken Salad with Cranberries vs the Tuna Nicoise with Anchovies as one of us is not a big fish fan, Crudites, bite size cut raw veggies served with Dill Dip along with our wine spritzers with a touch of peach liqueur. 

 The Piece d' Resistance was an interactive dessert, Cherry Clafouti, a souffle pudding for which we were instructed to embellish our plates drizzling chocolate designs and tooth pick artistry..
If a book inspires this much creativity who cares if we really liked the eccentric chef, larger than life author, who wrote the book. 

Here's to enjoying what you put in your mouth and let your body enjoy being an amusement park in your gasronomic endeavors...  
Sometimes maybe less is more... LOL

                                        Bon app├ętit.

Link for Cherry Clafoutis

Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Everything Has a Story...

Curiosity regarding specific items at Show n' Tell make for some  interesting telling not that I can do them justice with my synopsis as everybody has their own unique storytelling style. 

Chamber Pots: A Unique Collector

Do you know of anyone who collects chamber pots? Well, we met one. Talk about unusual collections! As we are passing around the pot the important question arose. "Has anyone in the collector's household used one of these?" The response:  "Oh no, we live in the country, the guys just go outside." Like yeah, I know about that.

Handkerchief Clock: Family Keepsake

A Grandmother's handerchief collection pinned so when a family wedding occurs, the bride can simply choose one by unpinning it and using it in her bouquet/when there's a christening, a couple stitches can make a baby's cap which can easily become a handkerchief afterwards for another wedding. 

Woman in Photo with Marceilles hairdo: The Secret

A Grandmother with a secret. Sad story of a first wife with child who were killed by a drunk driver and the husband remarries a friend the of the dead wife's sister, the second wife never to be known by the family as the second wife. Surprise comes many years later when the granddaughter becomes engaged and admires the grandmother's wedding ring only to be told it was a 'hand me down.' "A hand me down?""Yes, it belonged to grandfather's first wife..." and the secret story is told.

Pink Plastic Figures. Re: Sibling Rivalry

Two sisters compete in who has the most plastic figures. Each figure portrays different women's professions of the day.  When the sisters are grown, one day one sister gives her sister a box. What's inside? Her sister has given her sister her pink figure collection. 

Crewel Work Mystery.

Many items are donated to the historic museum without a story and it's the curator's job to figure it out. This handwork is in Czech but we need to find someone who can not only translate the stitching but decipher its abbreviation and significance. Do you know of anybody that could help? We know there was a Czech population at one time in La Crosse...

When you compliment someone on an item, I just bet they'll have a story for you. Just listen up...

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

All of These Things Have Something in Common...

Take a gander at the photos and items listed below and see if you can guess what they might have in common.

Newspaper clippings: one when Busch stadium was being built with a photo of a brother and sister playing catch, another clipping was of a little blonde boy on an old Ford tractor and his Grandfather in Norway.

Then there were 2 boxes: one filled with hair of different colors, another had pink plastic women figurines.

There was a couple of bed pans, 

a  pair of striped pants from the sixties,

a photo of a woman with a Marceilles hairdo, 
2 Effanbee baby dolls, 
a piece of crewel work from 1879, 

a pair of tweezers

and a collection of handkerchiefs 
made into a clock.

OK, any guesses?

It was another terrific morning for Show 'N Tell at a local coffee house for a group of strangers who don't leave strangers after sharing their stories.

So you tell me which item for which you'd like the story?

            Life is full of stories and we are all story tellers.

Monday, August 25, 2014

Truly Great... What a Venue!

You know what's really great?

When the Great River Folk Festival after almost 40 years actually is held at Riverside Park next to the Mississippi River. What a venue!

Due to scheduling the Festival couldn't be held on the UW-L campus.  Despite Saturday's rainy day's poor attendance, Sunday definitely made up for it and the river's breeze was a welcomed delight on a hot summer's day. Folk artists booths dotted the circumference of the fest grounds. Musicians performed under tents with the main stage being in a giant tent next to the food vendors. The crowd was genuinely pleased with the new venue.

2014 Songwriter winner, Derrick Olsen
After my shift working in the food tent, I enjoyed listening to the 12 finalists in the song writing contest. Talented contestants with a myriad of 
vocal and instrumental styles from Minnesota, Illinois and Wisconsin came to compete for the top 3 spots. The 2014 winner, Derrick Olsen attended UW-L and now lives in New Lisbon, is a new Dad. In addition to opening for the final concert Sunday, his winning song 'Searching for the Wind earned him not only a monetary award but also recording time. 

 A newer young group, Barefoot Movement from Tennessee, knocked my socks off as they shared the stage with folk legends Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt, both regulars  on Prairie Home Companion. 

Neither Sally 
nor Claudia disappointed the full tent with their lyrics, harmonious renditions, sing alongs and crystal clear voices. 
Such accomplished folk artists.

Although I didn't get to hear all the performers back at the songwriter workshop tent David Wilcox charmed listeners with his story telling, Grace  Pettis, shared her talents along with Colin O ' Brien. I missed hearing Grace's Dad, Pierce Pettis.

Colin O'Brien
A quick jaunt across the fest grounds was the local group Under Paris Skies, Jean Luc, known by most in this area as the Crepe maker, joined the enterouge. It turns out he not only makes great crepes but also is a mean guitar picker. 

I wish I could have been at all the performances across the fest grounds. I just needed more than one of me. Sunday's final concert featured Evergreen Grass Band before Sally Rogers and Claudia Schmidt sang their hearts for a good hour to close the festival.

(I do need to figure out edit the size of the video clip to post a sample of the Evergreen Grass Band's energy.)

It was also great to see all the 'folks' including local folk we know.

I know those folks!

One thing for certain was I got me 'some good music' this week

Friday, August 22, 2014


OK, you can't tell me this week's FOTO FRIDAY challenge is difficult since it's your favorite August bloom.

 We went canoeing Wednesday in the back waters and I saw mine, the water lily. 

It was an overcast afternoon and the multitude of the previous week's blooms were gone but there was one lonely lily amidst among all the arrowroot blooming. They remind me so much of the magnolia bloom. Ginger's memories are of the water lilies in her family's backyard pond with white koi swimming around them.

Cheryl's favorite August bloom is also the water lily and she submits the last one she photographed. 

Jennifer  states hydrangeas always bring back memories of her childhood in the South.

So send in a photo of your favorite August flower.  

Out in the La Crosse's International Garden the lilies were also blooming...

If you missed last week's FOTO FRIDAY here's the link:

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Tarred 'n Feathered... No, Just Tarred 'n Stoned

Did you realize that we can have two seasons at the same time here in the state of Wisconsin? Yep, we do. Let's see, if you guessed summer and road repair, you are correcto mundo. 

I am not complaining the road to Stoddard is being resurfaced, just why the road repair crew couldn't have worked on the five miles while I was away? 

Instead, each day this week here are the signs I have been  seeing indicating road work ahead. Who knows which mile but there'll be no center stripe and loose gravel. What, they don't want to warn you about the tar?
No center stripe... it's there now.

Loose gravel wreaks havoc on a car's paint job.

Truck traffic is abundant on a usually quiet road.

A once relatively quiet hightway drive is quite a'buzz with the road crews, trucks and machinery. There's even a FOLLOW ME car to follow on the opposite side of the street as the holes were filled with tar and finally sprayed with oily tar followed by a layer of gravel. I am sure this is doing a number on the underside of all our cars. Please be careful bikers and cyclists as HWY 162 is going to have loose gravel for a while.

Recent heavy fog combined with morning commuters made an interesting Twilight Zone scene Wednesday am. The budget must have been cut as there were no workers with those SLOW/STOP signs as the workmen swept the center line.  Seriously, do they have a death wish? Goodness gracious. Not the time to cut workers.  Go figure.

Anyhow, we will be glad when the crews have moved on and quiet returns to the roads. We get awfully spoiled here in the End of the Rainbow Valley...


I am not the only thing stuffed after a week of Southern cooking. For besides being blessed with a nice trip south I came home to more poblano peppers ready to be picked in the garden. Since I had leftover Spanish rice and some goat cheese needing to be used, why not try another stuffed pepper recipe? 

This one's called Stuffed Poblano Casserole. Freezer space here in the End of the Rainbow Valley is getting scarce so I halved what the recipe called for below just to cook for 2 of us with no leftovers using just 3 chiles, etc...

PrepTime:  25 Minutes
Total Time:  1 Hour
6 servings

Similar to the authentic Chile Relleno I made last week before going out of town which I might add was de-lish, the following is an easy casserole which doesn't require frying a batter covered poblano pepper. Not quite as pretty but still tasty. I'd give it 4 stars.

If you are having company, no worries, just assemble this dish the night before/ put it together in the morning before you head out to work.

Then, you can cook it when you get home. 


6 fresh poblano chiles
 ( I cut a slit, deseeded & deveined before cooking)
1/4 c (1/2 stick) butter  - (I used *olive oil)
1 med yellow onion, chopped
2 garlic cloves, minced
3 c fresh corn kernels/frozen thawed (about 6 ears/ 2 10-oz pkgs)
1 c grated manchego/monterey jack cheese
   ( I used our soft goat cheese)
4 c cooked white rice ( I had leftover Spanish rice)
1 c crema or sour cream
1 1/3 c Red Salsa
1/2 c grated queso anejo/parmesan cheese


 -Char chiles under broiler/over gas flame blacken all over. 

- Place in plastic bag, let them stand 10 min.

- Peel chiles.
**Start at stem end, carefully cut one slit down length of each   chile, leaving stems and tops intact if possible. Carefully remove seeds and veins from chiles.

Preheat oven: 350 degrees  

-Melt butter in heavy lg saute pan over medium heat. 
-Add onion and saute about 5 minutes. 
-Add garlic for 1 min. 
-Add corn and saute 2 minutes. 
-Season to taste with salt and pepper. 

-Cool completely. 
-Stir in manchego/ Monterey Jack/soft goat cheese. 

-Stuff chiles with corn mixture.

-Butter/ Spray 15x10-inch baking dish.

-Place rice in prepared dish.  
-Nestle stuffed chiles in single layer into rice. 

-Mix Red Salsa and crema in medium bowl.  

- Pour over chiles and rice. 

-Sprinkle with parmesan cheese.

Bake until chiles are heated through and sauce bubbles, about 25 minutes (about 40 minutes for refrigerated casserole).


Get Cooking:

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

In Shock

Something happened this week that has not happened in about 12 years.  ALL, and I mean ALL of my flights both going and returning from Little Rock were… 
Are you ready?  On time. 

And get this, I flew through O’Hare.  In fact, the flight even arrived 15 minutes early to Little Rock and there wasn’t anybody available to operate the jet bridge. My return to La Crosse was also 10 minutes early. Holy moly.

I bet you too remember a time when airlines prided themselves on punctuality in addition to having your bag awaiting you.  And you weren’t charged for your baggage. There were airlines we would definitely avoid since their reputation lacked dependability. Nowadays that definitely is a thing of the past.  Sure they have punctuality standings but they are padded and many times  excessive taxiing alters actually gate arrival time.

Alas, I will always appreciate and remember this trip for its ease in delivering me to my destinations without stress. No running to make a connecting flight nor worry of having to wait for a delayed flight. I was even allowed to take an earlier flight without the usual fee charge.  Even if originally I was told that a change would incur a $75 charge, it turned out the fees had been waived for the day. 

The flight gods must have been with me. So I thank my lucky stars and will enjoy being home almost 3 hours early.  It sure is great to be back in the End of the Rainbow Valley

Home Sweet Home

Monday, August 18, 2014

Take OUT without Hassle...

You know there are those days when you don't feel like running out to go get a bite but would love someone else to cook. Wouldn't it be great to have someone deliver lunch or dinner to your office, hotel/ home?

It turns out in Little Rock, Arkansas now there's a restaurant delivery service which not only is alive but doing well and growing. 

 Sometimes it's nice to eat your favorite restaurant's food without the hassle of dressing up, right Becky?.
As we sat enjoying our Italian dinner Saturday evening in downtown Little Rock's Bruno's, I saw more than a couple people throughout our dining time waiting in line at the cash register donning these t-shirts.

This restaurant delivery service called Chef Shuttle has grown to serve some 50 restaurants in the area.  All you need is a couple minutes on-line perusing Chef Shuttle's area restaurant menus, place an order with Chef Shuttle who then calls it in to the restaurant, sends one of its drivers to pick it up and delivers it within an hour to your designated address all for the low fee of $4.95 as long as you place a minimum $15 order. Pretty terrific, huh?

The company has future plans to expand to outlying towns and maybe throughout the state.  Who knows one day maybe it could even service End of the Rainbow Valley. Well, okay that's a little  far fetched but a girl can dream, can't she?