This Is His Fifth Wedding In Three Years

I’m drinking tropical hibiscus in the lounge

when a woman enters the vicinity clopping

her tongue like a horse

along to the ambient music.

I record this occurrence in my notebook,

take a swig of tea,

and stand

to meet the clip clop woman

so as to tell her how much I appreciate

triumphal people who enter rooms with song.

“I did?  I don’t remember doing that.”

says the lady who mere seconds ago

was a verifiable songhorse.

I wonder if any of the other loungers

here can recall it,

perhaps

I notice more than I should

like when I ask the man with all the loose leaf notes

and who is scrawling with an extra wide sharpie

what it is he is doing

and he says

“writing an obituary”

and then thanks me for leaving him alone.

Today I overhead a woman saying,

“A successful marriage requires falling in love several times.”

Plenty of advice like that can be overhead inside the Pfister

on the seventh floor

I overhear the rehearsal of marriage vows,

a man and a woman,

scripts in hand

“Do you take this man to be your lawfully wedded husband?”

(Which I still always hear as “Do you take this man to be your waffle-y wedded husband?” because that’s what I thought it was when my grandma and I played Barbies back in 1990 or so.)

Maybe it is none of my bee’s wax biz nizz

but I ask them if they are about to marry each other

“No!  That’s my sister!”

says the man named Jesse

who is an officiant for weddings.

This is his fifth wedding in three years,

he only marries close friends of the family.

“If I know them I will do it,”

he will marry them.

Jesse informs me that “you could even marry yourself if you want to”

or at least you could according to the Wisconsin state statue of five years ago

when last he read it

as part of getting ordained by the Universal Life Church

“I’ve paid my dues, Miss.”

His first wedding was up in the Porcupine Mountains of upper Michigan,

how waffle-y romantic sounding

I think

it is time to wish Jesse and his helping sister well

so that they may get on with the ceremony,

but there is no bride and groom,

no wedding party,

where are they?

Late.

I almost say, “Well, break a leg!”

but that’s not quite appropriate,

maybe “Go jump the broom!” is better?

Jesse recommends, “I hope you’re sure!”

or if the conditions are right, “I hope this is the last one!”

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Jesse and his sister Valerie rehearse the ceremony. They came in from Green Bay, Wisconsin.
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“I’m getting concerned that no one is up here,” says Jesse regarding the wedding party.

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Pinecone Shaped Doorknob on the Seventh Floor

The suit store, Roger Stevens will cease to exist at the end of this month after its four decades at the Pfister. Everything is for sale.  Everything.

EverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverything.

EverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverythingEverything.

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The striped shorts!
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The suits!
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The exquisite chair!
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The authentic Italian army nesting cases!
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The books!
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The wooden beaver!
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The “HONOURS” board!

 

The bow ties!
The bow ties!
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The classic Ralph Lauren photographs!
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The jar of buttons!

But NOT the elk head. That one they tell me is on loan.

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I show all these manly goods to Wes because he is a man. He’s also a person with the inquisitive eye of a filmmaker-photographer-retired rapper. His eyeballs expand and emit rays of zing whenever he sees project potential. It is natural when in his company to want to show him every storied bit you can scratch together in the hope that he will do that peculiar eye thing again.

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He shows me things too. Things I have never noticed before like the pinecone shaped doorknob on the seventh floor. Wes explains that the pinecone is an important symbol to a lot of cultures and represents the pineal gland in the brain. It is believed by much of humanity that the pineal gland is where one’s soul enters and exits the body at the start and end of life. Also, the top of the head is where divine knowledge enters the body through the crown chakra.

I don’t know where he gathered all this knowledge, but it could have been back in Dodgeville where he was hatched amongst pinecones.

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Who is that?!

I show him the wall with the portraits of all the governors Wisconsin has ever known and Wes searches for Governor Dodge, the namesake of his hometown. None of the inscriptions below the portraits bear his name. Though there is one on the wall without an inscription, so Wes decides that one is him.   Either that or “A hipster guy who bartends over at the Sugar Maple.”

He told me about a movie he shot years ago in some abandoned houses of Dodgeville. He made his decision for the location when he went up to one and thought, “This house feels ghosty. ” He would tell his actors, “Let’s have you walk down this staircase and uh hopefully it doesn’t cave in.”   Sometimes the houses would smell weird, like animal death. After he made that movie he was traumatized from making that movie and didn’t make another one for a long time “Even though I tried like several times.”

He’s been more productive in amassing “Gourds of writings! Hoards of writings! Hoards of gourds of writings!” And now that he is retiring from rap he is ghostwriting an R&B album. “I’ve got it all mapped out, it’s a ‘triple triptych symphony.’ I’m working with three different producers and they’re each giving me 3D beats. Then they’re going to collaborate on each other’s beats so it will have a persistent feel to it with three different movements.” Wes explained this one to me thrice and in three different ways. Expect to hear the results nigh.

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The real Governor Dodge.

While writing this post I’ve looked up a picture of Governor Dodge. I think the unnamed fellow we found is more likely The Sugar Maple Hipster.

A Cat, A Bat And Many A Diplomat.

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Wherever they are headed, I’m going too!

The Wisconsin Humane Society is throwing a fundraiser, “An Old Hollywoof affair.”

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Helga, the concierge, gave me three magic treats to offer guests before I joined up with the ball.
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“Talon is a healthy peregrine falcon.”
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This owl kept turning its head like a screw. Looking at me and looking at who, who, who?
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“Coco is a Wisconsin Humane Society alum, adopted last year. Since then he’s visited St. Luke’s Hospital and spoke to the stroke support group. Last year he wore a tweed jacket. This year he has a smoking jacket and a pipe donated from Uhle’s Smoke Shop.” I offer to hold his pipe for him, but he says he doesn’t actually like smoking.
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Nope!
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In case you were wondering, he is half siamese and half tabby.

 

 

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Cora is a “hoary bat.” Hoary bats have a frost tint to their hair.
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Meal worms. “Cora is cuddly right now because she just had a big meal. This is what she eats in captivity. In the wild she’d eat things like moths or corn earworm, a significant agricultural pest. She’d be interested in any big winged insect.”

 

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“His real name is Cary Grant.”
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Handsome. My kinda guy.
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I have always feared tiny dogs, but a lady asked me if I would like to hold her dog and I could not say no.
Everyone wanted their picture taken with this particular dog.
Everyone wanted their picture taken with this particular dog.
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“Would you like to play ‘Blingo?’ It’s $100 a ticket and if you win you get $4,000 jewelry.”
Care for any skewers with dipping sauce?
Care for any skewers with dipping sauce?
This dame was a real hoot!
This dame was a real hoot!
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Surveying the silent auction wares that included a palatial four poster bed for a royal creature who should weight eight pounds or less.
Would you like a Garfield poster AUTOGRAPHED BY JIM DAVIS????  Twelve year old me would!
Would you like a Garfield poster SIGNED BY JIM DAVIS???? Twelve year old me would!
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I was attempting to surreptitiously snap a picture of his Hollywood hair, but he caught me! Generously, this star gave me his autograph with a single glance.
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This beautiful person is named Angela.

 

There were plenty of spangly gowns to gawk upon.
There were plenty of spangly gowns to gawk upon.

 

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Very gawk worthy.
This woman's dress epitomized the evening's theme.
This woman’s dress epitomized the evening’s theme.
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There were many variations of that theme.
Dizzied by all the glitter, sparkling with the wine.
Dizzil’d by all the glitter gla gla gla, sparkling along with the wine.
There was lots of petting.
There was lots of petting.

 

This one fooled me.  I thought it was alive.
This one fooled me. I thought it was still alive.
The unwavering gaze of this couple transferred an electric current strong enough to thwart my camera's battery. There are no further pictures of this event.
The unwavering gaze of this couple transferred an electric current strong enough to thwart my camera’s battery. There are no further pictures of this event.

 

 

The Absinthe Minded Confusion Fusion

DSCN7181My recorder has stored a highly detailed 16 minute and 12 second description of a book this man read a couple decades ago.  It is the autobiography of Bernard Baruch, a wall street guy who hung out at the Waldorf Astoria hotel in the 1930’s.  The description would have been even longer had I not the urge to use the bathroom.  To get the rest of the story I’ll have to read the rest of the book, but he warned me that it is hard to find as it has gone out of print.

DSCN7091Snooping around on the second floor I discover the Pfister’s room rates.  Even with a bath, it’s cheaper than renting an apartment.  So, I’m moving into a room.

DSCN7021Now that I live at the Pfister my breakfast always looks likes this.  Made in house daily by dainty fingered bakers that know the difference between a dried currant and a dried blueberry by touch alone.

DSCN7214My lunches are exquisite medleys of pecans, bacon, tomato, spinach and salmon grilled by low voiced gorillas with ornamental (but harmless) fangs.

DSCN7011My snacks are the giant pretzels set out for convention goers.

DSCN6811This supper of chicken and mashed cauliflower enraptures me so much that I must fill my paper napkin with the scribbles of divine savoring!

DSCN6820I take the frantic notations of my sensorial frizmitation and place it with gratitude inside the pianist’s tip jar.

DSCN7017I use to think these perfect things were made out of convincing colored wax and shined with mineral oil, too good to be true… but they are not.  They are my dessert.

DSCN6801I climb to the 23rd floor and watch all the rush hour cars stuck on the freeway.  I no longer have use for a freeway.  I live at work.  Nyah-nyah-nyah-nyah!

DSCN6864Lies!  I don’t really live here. I am just around here enough to notice when the palm trees are temporarily moved from their regular posts in the lobby.

DSCN7080Last week the lobby was festooned with flowers of the sun.

DSCN7034Behind the roses and blur of movement is a lounge full of loungers.  The loungers are attended to by Val. Today Val told me that when absinthe became legal she made her own absinthe recipe.  It was a fusion that began with gin as its base because “There’s an old saying that to drink gin is to sin.”  The gin was put in to help the drinker forget their day.  Val added whole rosemary and named it “the absinthe minded confusion fusion.”  The rosemary was to help the drinker remember the name of the drink since rosemary is supposed to help you to remember things.

DSCN6795This railing remembers a lot of things.  121 years worth of visitor’s names to be precise.

 

 

 

 

The Lady With The Hats

A box with twenty hats were left for me at the front desk the other day.

Kenneth at the front desk went through them all and had already selected his favorite.
Kenneth at the front desk went through them all and had already selected his favorite.

Miraculously, all of them fit my head. I would like to end this story here and imply that I have a secret admirer, but I know who gave me the hats. I was introduced to her in the Mason Street Grill recently. She wore a white hat. As one hat-wearing lady to another often will, I told her I thought her’s a stunning sculpture. Instantly, as if I had just told the queen fairy that she had a nice crown, she announced that she would gift me her many hats. “Please do,” I said but didn’t quite believe her, since people make those sorts of statements all the time and rarely follow through.

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Kathy meant it because she is moving and must simplify her hat collection…

 

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The beach, obviously.
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“Michael Howard 100% Wool Made in the U.S.A. Includes chin strap.
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Made in China. (The only one that says that.)
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Miss Bierner, Michael Howard 100% Wool Made in the U.S.A.
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This one was clearly never worn before as the plastic tag still hangs from it.
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Made in France, “Pure Laine.”
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Kenneth from the front desk’s favorite of the hats. Kathy says she never wore it.
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My mom models the Betmar, made in Italy.
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Kathy wore this hat with a gold bathing suit on her yearly excursions to Mexico.
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Chelsea Campbell, 100% Wool, Made in Italy.
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One of these things. Looks good on the bannister.
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Elegantly Yours Miriam Lefcourt, Handcrafted in Italy
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Betmar New York

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Black hats are Kathy’s favorite kind of hat because they go with everything. The day she met me I was wearing my black and white hat and “It was a signal, whoa!” She knew she could entrust them to me, a terrific alternative to the thrift store.

The hats were bought on trips all over the world including, London, Paris and New York. They represent the past 25 years of Kathy’s adventures. Once, while in New York, she visited a boutique in Trump Tower and saw a s!n!a!z!z!y! black hat with a wide scalloped brim. The boutique owner informed Kathy that Ivana Trump recently bought that very same hat. “If it was good enough for Ivana Trump, then its good enough for me,” decided Kathy. She did not give me that hat. She also held onto “two felt hats with long pheasant feathers coming off of them.” She has never worn them before but now that her collection is smaller she plans to debut them this winter.

Gardeners all over Milwaukee know her as “The Lady With The Hats.” Kathy founded both the Milwaukee and South Milwaukee factions of the Federated Garden Club 24 years ago. Generally she wears a hat on when out because she is a short woman and “doesn’t want to get stepped on.” Though on weekends after she gets her hair done she prefers to go without a hat. When Kathy runs into a fellow gardener on the weekend, frequently they exclaim, “I thought you didn’t have any hair!” Of course they mean it as a joke because The Lady With The Hats has been known to occasionally attend meetings without one just to “treat them.”

Kathy steams her own hats to make sure that it is done right. They can lose their shape after visiting the dry cleaners. She also stocked up on hatpins the last time she was in London because “there’s no better place to buy hatpins.” She wears two pins on each side of her head and a few in the back too so that in case someone hugs her “the hat won’t roll down the street.”

Though she gave me half her collection she will soon be adding to it. Kathy told me. “Spring hats really take a beating, I tend to wear them all the time. It is time to order another one from London. I’d rather put the money into a hat than to go there.”

 

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A Haircut, A Soft Man From The Spa, A War Zone

Before.
Before.
After
After

 

I got an asymmetrical haircut at the Pfister’s salon. Carrie, medical my stylist said she had a barn growing up. It was mostly empty, so she and her brother would perform plays inside. Carrie had “an asthmatic horse named Blaze.” I didn’t know they made asthmatic horses, but Carrie tells me that it is a much more serious condition in horses. Poor Blaze had to wear an inhaler every day. Carrie had two other animals: a dog that she loved and a grumpy goat named ‘Butthead’ that she did not like so well. I have never been to a salon before, buy viagra so I was astonished to sit in the electric massage chair and get my hair washed.

I stared into the wall tiled with iridescent shells.
I stared into the wall tiled with iridescent shells.

 

“I don’t mean to be morbid, purchase but that would be a good place to die,” says a man who just got a massage in the spa. The relaxed man says that he, his mother and his girlfriend run a foundation together dedicated to the care and preservation of all 15 varieties of cranes. At a fundraiser last year he got to meet the world’s most famous anthropologist Jane Goodall. She sat at his table and gave advice to his girlfriend on how to proceed with their other fledgling project, a new animal care center. Goodall urged them not to lose vision and to keep going since there is no other organization in Wisconsin that currently spays and neuters cats as effectively as they plan to.

 

The man continues his conversation with me for an hour. I learn a lot about him including how he recently retired from a Milwaukee business his family has continuously owned since 1858, how retirement allows him to help produce off Broadway plays in New York, of years ago when he studied third world history in college, and that he’s “a soft man who cries a lot at movies,” preferring to watch animated movies over the action genre. He also tells me secrets in an auditorium compatible volume.

 

Eventually the man leaves the premises and another guy comes up to me wearing no expression on his face, asking me a lot of questions. His initial questions seem ordinary having to do about my role at the hotel, but then they get nosier: “Who was that guy you were just talking with? He was very open with you.” Only two kinds of grown people ask the things he wants to know, and guessing he’s unlikely to be a detective, I inquire if he’s a journalist. “Yes, my name is Barry Petersen and I am a correspondent with CBS, just back from Gaza. It was the worst war zone I’ve ever seen, and that’s saying a lot.”

 

Barry introduces me to his wife who is wearing a newspaper… a jacket made of crinkly fabric printed with headlines. Very convincing. Barry tells me that in Gaza “They tried to kill us all.” Now there’s a ceasefire there and Barry is safe inside the Pfister, finishing a cheese and fruit platter and about to have some carrot cake. Barry tells his wife that he had a contest with me to see who could find out more about the other. I did not know we were having a contest, but Barry definitively won. “I have always said that journalists are not interesting people,” claims Barry. He gives me permission to put him in the blog if I read five of his Gaza stories. I read of fathers burying children, 600 people taking shelter in a school and boys aspiring to become suicide bombers to get revenge.

This Was During The Depression

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DSCN6948Eleanore ate salad at the Mason Street Grill last Friday,

in honor of her mother,

a woman named Blanche,

“she was a honey”

born around 1892.

When honey Blanche grew up

she worked for a time making

the most popular salads at the Pfister

so great were her salads

that President Teddy Roosevelt

asked to meet his salad maker

so he could kiss her hand

and from that

Blanche learned how approachable lawmakers are.

Eleanore has frequently called them up too

to advocate on behalf of the poor.

Somewhere in the attic

Eleanore has the phone number

of former Senator Kohl

who by the way, I saw again

just the other day

in the lounge

so the next time I see him

I’m to tell him

Eleanore says “Hello,”

another word her father had to learn

after arriving from Poland.

“My mother was born on the boat,”

says Eleanore but soon changes her mind,

“No! She was born and then rode the boat.

She was sick all the way,

vomiting over the side,

I certainly give these immigrants a lot of credit

they were all getting sick not just her.”

Blanche’s first job was caring for a doctor’s child

she took the streetcar to work.

There were three children:

Eleanore’s older sister, herself and then Florence.

There was also her brother, Norman

who died at age three from infantile paralysis.

Eleanore was in kindergarten at the time

but had to drop out.

Even Buster could tell Norman was sick,

that dog would pick Eleanore up from school

and they would run down the alleys together

until they arrived at her house on Archer Avenue.

Across the street

was the butcher shop

the boy whose family owned the shop

was Eleanore’s playmate and eventual husband.

On the corner of Archer and Kinnickinnic was a big lot

owned by the plumbing store guy

who told the kids that they could play football

or baseball there

any time they wanted

and so they did.

Eleanore wore jeans,

played sports with boys,

a tomboy

unlike her sister, Florence

who would stand in front of the mirror,

primp her red-brown hair and announce,

“I am going to Hollywood.”

Anytime Eleanore had a date

she’d introduce the fellow to her family.

So many boyfriends dumped Eleanore!

Once they saw Florence

they started dating her instead.

“She was strictly a Hollywood type of person.”

This was during the depression

people ate horse meat,

everyone knew when Al Capone was coming to town,

they went to the streets to watch.

In 1931 there was an older lady with a hat

who owned “a big hunk of luxury,”

an electric car!

The kids used to line up and watch with mouths wide open

as she clambered the high step to get in.

Eleanore’s father planted a Victory garden for his family

where Cudahy High now sits

it was like a cemetery with different plots

for families growing tomatoes.

To this day Eleanore still gardens

at her nursing home in Oak Creek.

“I’ve had a beautiful life,

and these are all of my friends,”

Eleanore gestures at all five of her friends

also gardeners

who joined her to celebrate her life.

It’s not her birthday

she turned 96 last January

but on this August day she’s presented a birthday cake.

Someone pulls away her salad,

Eleanore protests, “I’m not done with that!”

but covers her mouth in shock and delight

when she sees a cake and one burning candle set before her

instead of singing we watch Eleanor eat her dessert

with the fire still going till the last bite.

a despondent coffee bean anticipating its consumption

This hotel is rife with whiz-bang creators. At any hour someone with an opinion on Salavador Dali is likely to state it from behind a counter, pills since so much of the staff identifies with being an artist of some sort. Certainly, there is an official resident artist and an official resident narrator, but there are many more creative Pfister residents than just that. Take the three concierges: Peter is our resident costume constructor and actor, viagra Greta is our resident painting gallery owner and Roc is our resident live raconteur with a background in teaching English.

I have been here three months and I still haven’t met all of the musicians that lurk here.

I suppose if one hoped to find the classic bohemian employed by the Pfister, ed the most stereotypically logical place to look would be near the coffee in the café. Indeed, barista Adam identifies as a creative writer and a musician. He has the samples to prove it too, once, he handed me my receipt with two links to his work.

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The song “Coins and Bullets” on the bandcamp site is particularly evocative of late fall angst.

Adam reads this blog. One day he told me he wanted me to write him a letter and handed me my receipt with a request written in his precise and gentle script.

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This is the pinnacle of my life. This is the pinnacle of my usefulness.

The pulverization ritual is nigh.

The spiritual gain of the pulverization ritual???

To become grit and aroma,

I will vanish like steam on a hot day

like health from a hot dog

like they have always said oh,

thissucksthissucksthissucksthissucksthissucks

c e a s e l e s s  

w   o   e   b   e   g   o   n   e

so present

so nipsy

there is no other truth anymore

except: I am a bean and resemble a turd from an unidentified rodent.

Whims of taste supply and demand me to be shred, submerged, percolated, strained, stained, ingested, burped, excreted,

sold en masse

never remembered as the soul that I am

now roasting in a barrel.

This is my last moment to recall how

before my memory burns away

before I knew death would come

before I knew cruelty could happen at all

before all else there was gestation

soft pod skin seal,

ambition to make mom tree proud by my expansion,

“I’ll get so big that I’ll obscure our cacao pod neighbors!!!”

Ah, the laughter of caffeine cliques

so fruitless now

that we all

die.

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He liked it!
He liked it!

Pineapples Visit Sauerkraut Boulevard

Mark and Delores (who have a German last name) are here from Miami. They are getting the German Milwaukee experience. They toured the Pabst Mansion, did a beer tasting and are asking who Captain Pabst (Pabst beer’s founder) was close friends with. Honestly, I don’t know.* Delores bought a T-shirt from Mader’s, Milwaukee’s classic German restaurant.  She is debating as to whether she can wear it when she returns home when Germany plays in the soccer finals. Most people in Miami are Brazil fans. “You don’t have a lot of Germans in Miami,” I joke. They shake their head, “Actually we do, Germans are everywhere, and you can spot them a mile away with their thick socks and sandals.” Delores confides that similar to a German tourist, she brought some socks with her to wear with her sandals in preparation for Milwaukee’s nippy 85 degree weather.

Back in Miami when a soccer game day comes around, “30% of people on the street will be wearing a jersey of some sort.” Mark & Delores arrived at the hotel on Friday and watched the game in the bar with four other people. “But if this were Miami, there would have been 200 hundred people and they all would be wearing costumes, too.”

Mark has on a polo shirt with refreshing teal stripes. Quite the tropical look. Delores is in pink. Incidentally, teal and pink were the two favorite colors of a close friend of mine in college who hailed from Miami.

Though he is now retired, Mark recounts for me his work history; he toured banana and pineapple plantations all over the world for Del Monte. When he started out in the business, all pineapples sold in the states were shipped in from Hawaii. Hawaiian pineapples have a sugar content that changes throughout the year, and sometimes the fruit is more tart than sweet. Eventually a hybrid variety of pineapple was developed to ensure a sweeter fruit all year long. That variety is grown in Costa Rica. Most American stores now carry pineapples from Costa Rica.

A year ago Mark & Delores were on vacation in North Carolina. They met a truck driver (who sold tractors) in a bar and he insisted that they visit the natural wonders of the Wisconsin Dells. He provided an argument so convincing that Mark and Delores are heading there next after inspecting the Circus World Museum in Baraboo.

*I’ve since asked our resident historian and concierge, Peter the question of who Captain Pabst liked to hang out with. Peter told me, “There was a whole cadre of people who lived in the Highland neighborhood that the Yankee aristocracy looked down on as “Sauerkraut Boulevard.” The Highland neighborhood was full of German mansion families such as the Uihleins, the Vogels, the Gettlemans and the Schusters. They all knew each other and intermarried. What’s more important a point to Peter when considering who Captain Pabst spent time with is how “Today we tend to have fewer friends and acquaintances, but back then community was central to the idea of how the world worked. You didn’t have just a few best friends.” Captain Pabst and his contemporaries thought more about what they could give back to the community they interacted with every day. Captain Pabst gave Milwaukee the Pabst Theater, Frederick Layton gave Milwaukee the Layton Art Museum, Guido & Charles Pfister gave Milwaukee the sumptuous Pfister. “The sense of themselves was part of the city. In the culture of the commonwealth they built their homes by worker’s cottages, there was no shame to live by the people who worked for them.”

La Belle Fleur et Le Verdant

La Belle Fleur (the beautiful flower), is a pear infused vodka recipe that Katrina is following today. She is still deciding on her own name for it, but knows she wants it to be French. She is teaching herself French from an application on her phone.

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Trois de poire (three pears) is the traditional name of this drink.

But what if she were to name it ‘trios de poire’ because there are three different pear varieties in it.

Or fleur de poire is elegant…

ménage à trois?

Someone at the bar declares, “I like that one!”

Fruit infused drinks are a new thing at the lobby lounge bar.  Recently Katrina made Rock & Rye, that’s bourbon infused with sugar candy, bitters, St. Germaine Elder flower and maraschino cherries. My goodness.

 

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She is so excited about the three-pear flower beauty infusion she tosses the bottle of vodka from one hand to the other as if juggling.

Katrina has been steeped in the art of bartending for six years and has a talent for knowing “within 30 seconds” what drink would match a customer’s personality.

What about me, Katrina? “I would guess you would be interested in a craft cocktail vintage style, or a French 75. You could be easily coerced into something with fruit forward or champagne. Maybe champagne cocktail, but it depends on the scenario. On a hot day after you’ve been walking around I think you would be more apt to The Verdant, a gin drink of a bright green color that contains chartreuse and some other secret ingredient.

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Katrina reads aloud from her potions book.

What is Chartreuse? Some green liqueur that only Carthusian monks in France can brew. It contains 130 different herbs and flowers from a secret recipe. The monks have been making Chartreuse since 1737. Katrina lets me sniff the bottle when I ask.

It took Katrina a long time to figure out the name for the Verdant, a drink whose secret ingredient (well, formerly secret) is fresh celery juice.

Other names she considered for it:

Flora’s elixer

Persephone

Garden Party

Verdant Valley

She has even more names that she considered listed on her phone.

Thank you, Katrina for providing a screen shot of your telephone's list.
Thank you, Katrina for providing a screen shot of your telephone’s list.

 

Also listed on her phone are all the songs she wants to sing at a karaoke night so that she will be prepared when she next finds herself in a karaoke situation. Included on her list are “I Would Walk 500 Miles,” and “Light My Candle.” She does not like it when people sing “Don’t Stop Believing.”

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