New Restaurant. Nu-Crepes.

I like crepes.

I have a crepe maker in which I’ve made many crepes … and had people at our house indulge too (sundae crepes – yay!)

I have been to several crepe restaurants. Some good. Some not so good. (Right, Cindy Vesperman? I think I still have the taste of the Santa Barbara crepe stuck in my mouth!)

Today I tried a new crepe restaurant with the catchy name of  Nu-Crepes. The place had several reviews. Most of them 4 or 5 star. Seemed promising. A few of the reviewers did say it was difficult to find.

And it was. Sort of. The GPS told us we were there, but we didn’t see it anywhere. So we parked and walked and the GPS still told us we were there and we didn’t see it.

Then we noticed a passageway that reminded me of a Scottish close that looked promising (and rather pretty)!


Several signs said Nu-Crepes and pointed down, but it wasn’t until we got to the end that we actually saw a door we could enter.


And once we got inside – we did go down … to the basement/lower level.

You order the crepes at a counter and get a buzzer (think Panera). The lady taking the orders was friendly and helpful when I asked what was good.

We waited about seven minutes and got our crepes. I ordered the Cali – avocado, mozzarella, turkey, ham, bacon, spinach.  My dish came with apple slaw – apples, lime cilantro, celery, arugula.


Delicious. Crepe was too large to eat in one sitting so I brought half home.

As we were getting ready to leave, one of the line cooks looked up, said a friendly good-bye and invited us to come again.

I would recommend this place. I would also go again if I were in the area.

Fun experience.

RHS Graduation

So two Sundays ago I went to Belinda’s graduation in the hallowed halls of Rhinelander High School – home of the Hodags.

The last time I was at a high school graduation was … when Belinda’s dad graduated.

The approach of this graduation was total confusion: Would it be outside in the soccer field where everyone could attend? Would it be inside in the gymnasium?

Chaos rained. Literally rained.

First outside. Then emails to all the graduates that it was inside. Then outside. Then inside.

But once the place was decided – all was well.

And the graduation itself was orderly, with teachers sad that the kids were leaving, and kids sad that they were leaving and everyone being respectful to everyone. The speeches weren’t overly memorable, but they were well prepared and what you would expect at a high school graduation.

Two hundred kids were in the class, but only 180 or so gradated that day – maybe because they didn’t pay all their fees (a threat given the day before) or because they didn’t show up. I don’t know.

Rather than filing in in a long line – kids came in two at a time which I thought was nice and gave parents opportunity for pictures, except Belinda came in to the immediate left of us and we didn’t see her until she was almost to her seat.. So good idea for all concerned except for the band who had to play Pomp and Circumstance for seven minutes straight – just ask Elizabeth.

So here it is

IMG_9906 2
Lunch at Culvers with the whole gang. Jeff, Cindy, kids, Cindy’s parents and me.
Ready to go.


Elizabeth in her black pants and white shirt is waiting for the cue to start pomping and circumstancing. Looking for the signal to play her cymbal.
Listening to the speeches.
Ready to walk up front.
Almost there!


And now she is off to the future!

Go Cubs, Go

I grew up in a baseball-cheering family. My dad grew up on the outskirts of New York City and absorbed Yankee mania. I first remember listening to games when I was maybe four or five. By that time we lived in Pennsylvania and we were Pirate fans. Well, Dad was become a Pirate fan and so by osmosis, so was I.

Dad had a shortwave radio and sometimes at night, I would go to sleep listening to some random game between two obscure (to us) teams like the Cardinals and the Dodgers.

And so by the time we moved to Illinois and by the time the school took all the fifth grade safety patrols to a Cubs game, I was immersed in the rules and easily picked up on what was happening. What was happening was the Cubs played the Pirates, Ernie Banks hit a home run, the Cubs won and Ernie became my hero.

That was it. I was a Cubs fan. And I remained a Cubs fan though I married a Pirates fan, we lived in the middle of Tiger fans and then lived in the middle of Brewer fans. So the rule was – if the Cubs played the Pirates, Ken cheered for the Pirates – any other time he cheered for the Cubs and vice versa. Or if Cubs were playing the Tigers or Brewers, we cheered for the Cubs – any other time we cheered for the Tigers or Brewers. Yes, we had a strict baseball-cheering system.

Once or twice a summer (as a kid), we’d get in the car and drive to Wrigley Field. Because  no one really came to the games in those days (Cubs were a sad team), we could easily find parking and buy tickets.

When we lived in Racine, we occasionally brought the kids down to games (and Kelli physically ran into Harry Carey or wait, Harry Carey ran into her).

Since I’m back in the area I again get to one or two games a year.

And I’ve gotten to some cool games …

We were at the Lee Smith game with the “immaculate deflection” play (that’s what it’s called).

We were at the game where Billy Williams broke the record for most consecutive games played. (Cincinnati)

We were at the one where the Cubs and the Brewers were vying for a place in the playoffs – Brewers were winning until two outs in the ninth and Cubs rallied and won. (Talking about screaming fans!)

Being there is fun. Getting there is crazy.

I do not mind driving in the city. I do mind parking in the city.

We have done driving, remote parking, nearby parking lot (say $30 – $40), Redline, bus from suburban shopping mall and taxi. None are ideal. Unlike many ballparks, Wrigley is in a residential area with no parking lot. But at the same time, we have always managed to actually get to the game.

Just beware – if you’ve never been there.

Once you arrive, the neighborhood is chaos. People everywhere, swarming around, trying to sell you tickets or buy your tickets, or offering you ice water (don’t believe that part about there being no bottled water in the stadium),  or programs.

Like any stadium/museum these days, you have to grow through security – actually twice. They checked out bags and then you put your stuff in another container and go walk through the metal detector machine (which for some reason, I had to walk through four times – have no idea why).

And then you’re inside. You feel people jostling against you as everyone wants to get where they’re going. You smell the mixture of hotdogs, nachos and peanuts. You hear surround sound snippets of conversation.

My first game.

Where is our seats?

Let’s get some food.

Who’s pitching”

Stay with me! Don’t get lost. I’ll never find you.

And then you walk up the ramp and into the bright sunlight. You see the iconic field, ivy on the wall. Sandberg, Banks, Williams (plus) flags flying, the guys warming up on the grass.

You find your way to your seat and you relax …

Friday’s game was just about perfect (for a ballgame).

Kyle Hendricks pitched (my favorite pitcher). Ben Zobrist (a favorite) led off with a hit and then came through with a bases-loaded double – which pushed the Cubs ahead. Kris Bryant (another favorite) followed behind with another hit. Now, if Steve Cishek had pitched …

And they won.

If only Steve Cishek had pitched – the day would’ve been complete.
The new Gallagher Way
The crowds!
My favorite pitcher.
The national anthem.
Gorgeous day!
Ready to play!
Hendricks pitching
Ben Zobrist, after hitting a bases-loaded double, is on second base … no, wait, he’s on third base, just wandered over there for a little conversation. But wait again – the Giants were done discussing whatever they were discussing and he wanders back to second.
Okay – this was impressive – none of the other players were out there, but Zobrist was signing autographs and more autographs – this was about half the crowd size it was at first. He did quit soon after I took the picture.



Morton Arboretum on a Spring Afternoon

I got a cool Christmas present this year – given to me by my in-laws, picked out by my daughter – a pass to the Morton Arboretum.

Morton Arboretum is 1,700 acres in Lisle, Illinois founded by Joy Sterling Morton. Mr. Morton’s father founded Arbor Day. Mr. Joy Morton, himself,  not only developed the Arboretum but also started the Morton Salt Company,

The main focus of the Morton Arboretum is … trees. The 1700 acres have 222,000 plants of all kinds. I could say a lot more … and probably will because I’m sure I’ll be back.

So since Christmas I’ve wanted to go … first it was cold and then it was snowy and then I had a lot of writing assignments to do … and then spring happened and we’ve had rain and rain and rain.

And then we had a beautiful afternoon and I took advantage of the opportunity.

Here are some of the pictures I took.  (Other trips, I’ll focus more on identification, etc.)

DSC_0550 2IMG_9804DSC_0588 2DSC_0590DSC_0563DSC_0536DSC_0573DSC_0559DSC_0580DSC_0587 3


Eating Our Way Up North

IMG_9615.jpgLast weekend Carter and I headed north to hear Elizabeth perform for solo and ensemble (as I said in my last post).

IMG_9612Before we went, I checked out some local restaurants that might be fun to try.

IMG_9613On the way to Steven’s Point, I found a cheesy option which I thought was appropriate being that we were in Wisconsin and all. The place had several different varieties of mac and cheese – that was their specialty – hence their name. Neither Carter nor I were very hungry, so we split a bowl – well, actually a mini cast-iron frying pan of the classic cheese – nothing fancy.

And that’s kind of how IMG_9611it tasted. Even though it is considered the #3 best restaurant out of 130 restaurants in Wisconsin Dells, it was rather cheesily bland. The macaroni was drenched in a creamy sauce. Maybe I just don’t like creamy sauces. We ate it, but were glad we didn’t order separate servings. (And I’m guessing some of their fancier dishes are more tasty.)

You order at the counter and take your dish to a seat  (or maybe the server brings it to you – I really can’t remember)- so semi-kind of, fast food.

Maybe it was #3 restaurant  – I haven’t been to the other 130. I’d give it a six out of 10. I did like the decor. Very Wisconsinish.

Once we got to Stevens Point, we were asked to meet the others at Hilltop Pub and Grill. (#4 of 91 in S.P. according to Trip Advisor). IMG_9617Cindy’s parents had heard it was a great place for Friday Night Fish Fry (definitely a Wisconsin thing).

I still wasn’t hungry (not feeling 100%) so had something simple – but most of the family got the fish fry. So, I did eat a couple pieces of Cindy’s fish and it was super good. Carter had the chicken tenders and said they were similar to what he’s had other places. But everyone truly thought the fish delicious.. Good recommendation.

Various members of several sides of the family.


IMG_9646Another restaurant that interested me was the Wooden Chair.  (Trip Advisor – 3 of 91). So after the Saturday competition we headed over.

The restaurant opened in 1993, but is located in a bank building from 1891. (Seems like I have been in several banks turned restaurants.) A lot of the structure/decor reflects the bank.

Jeff, Cindy, Carter, Elizabeth and I were the ones who ate here and we all got something different. Everyone seemed to enjoy their food. I was feeling better, so I got a BLT. The IMG_9650sandwich was absolutely delicious! I like BLTs and eat them a lot – especially on road trips – but this one was extra good – moist with a lot of bacon. I wished we lived closer so I could try some other foods. (I was still eating cautiously.)

The walls were brick and very old-time bankish – which I also liked.

And I had to smile at Carter and Elizabeth playing games with the creamer containers. Anyone who ever went out to eat with my dad knows how he had a whole series of games with the creamers – getting points for landing one upright, etc. These two never met my dad, but his DNA was evident in their choice of activities.

All I can say is, their great-grandfather would’ve been proud of them.