Summer Vacation

In case you haven't noticed, Cassandra and I have been sort of conspicuously absent these last two weeks. Cassandra and her family took a trip to settle her college-graduate daughter into a year-long job in Mexico City and I've been traveling a lot for work.

Add to all this travel, the fact that both our jobs have gotten a lot busier in recent months and you have a recipe for "not much crafting time."  My garden looks a mess and I haven't picked up knitting needles in ages. I have a million sewing projects (okay, maybe not a whole million) that are screaming to be done. But, when I get home at night, I just want to veg out with TV or a book. 

I need to retire. 

Truthfully, I'm going to be the best retired person in the world because I'll finally get to do all the projects I'm dying to do now. 

So...what does all this grousing mean? Cassandra and I have decided to have a summer vacation from the blog. We've been at this consistently, at least twice a week, for four full years and we just need a little break.

For the next couple of months, we'll do some re-prints of classic Mighty Distractible posts for your reading enjoyment and we'll get back to new, fresh content after our summer is over.

Thanks for being consistent and loyal readers. We hope you'll stick with us during (or come back after) our vacation. :)

- Alex

Picture Day!

My life is crazy right now - busy at home, busy in the garden, busy with friends, and extra-super-busy at work. Whew! I need a vacation from my life. LOL

Anyway, because I'm so busy, today is going to be Photo Thursday (something I just made up). Hopefully, my nutty life will provide you a few minutes of entertainment today. Enjoy!

- Alex

Enjoying a gallery show in the neighborhood.

Having (many) good dinners with friends.

Trying to decide about siding and windows for my house.

Attending cool charity events with awesome people.

Going to conventions.

Dealing with my bees building crazy comb. (An experiment gone awry)

Marveling at my hive.

Meeting cool people (at conventions).

Attending graduation parties and EATING. 

And eating...

Enjoying my peonies and my bees (who are enjoying my peonies).

Visiting the company's "Corporate Art Sale". 

Having a sleepy, allergy-ridden Sunday.

Visiting the company warehouse to prep for another trip.

Wishing I had the time to just sit and knit (maybe next winter!)

3 Brothers

If you've ever been to Milwaukee and not eaten at 3 Brothers is a tragedy. You can get a meal there that rivals the best restaurants anywhere here or across the ocean.

The menu has a selection of Serbian dishes for meat lovers and vegetarians alike. Granted, the menu leans heavier on the meat side, but my vegetarian family gets along there just fine.

We actually held a small party there for my college-graduate daughter a couple weeks ago. Everyone raved about the food. The meat lovers went wild for the lamb and chicken paprikash, the vegetarians went wild for the cheese and spinach burek....and EVERYONE went wild for the Serbian salad.

The dregs of our Serbian salad.
It's not just the food that makes 3 Brothers special. It's the ambiance. A tiny, intimate spot with mismatched chipped dishes and no two table and chair sets the same. Now, you might be thinking to yourself...ugh, whimsy. But no, this place has legitimately aged into what it is today. It's authenticity reminds me of places I went to as a child. 

The original bar with Schlitz globe.

Years and years ago, this location was actually a Schlitz bar and it is on the National Register of Historic Places. (I would love to be able to share more history of the building itself, but I wasn't able to find anything online.) You see hints of this establishment's beer tavern past here and there, inside and out...although this place has been 3 Brothers since 1954.

A portrait of the beautiful original owner watches over the diners.

The family that operates 3 Brothers are warm, welcoming, and so, so hard working. The kitchen is bursting with family members cooking from scratch.

So, if you ever find yourself in Milwaukee...Alex and I will meet you there...

Alex and I after a great meal and a few glasses of wine...

Allergies, Be Damned!

The smell of lilacs is like the nectar of the gods. The sad thing is, it only lasts about a week. So, what is one to do?

Well, in my case, I take a trip to Madison's Arboretum and stick my face in blooming lilacs for about an hour and a half. By the time I'm done, I've gotten my lilac fix (and I've sneezed my head off) and don't feel quite as bad when the blooms start to brown and drop.

So, let's start with the Arboretum (lovingly referred to as The Arb). The University of Wisconsin Arboretum is actually a research facility - acres and acres of land - gardens and prairies - that's used for environmental and ecological study. Their mission is to conserve and restore Arboretum lands, advance restoration ecology, and foster the land ethic." And, to the delight of thousands of people, it's open to the public for all manner of fun. The history of the Arb is fascinating and it's wonderful to know that all this gorgeous land (and water!) in the middle of our city will be preserved for the foreseeable future.

My all-time favorite part of the Arb is the lilac grove. There are, quite literally, hundreds of varieties of lilacs. Large flowered, small flowered, double-flowered, trees, bushes, sweet smelling, spicy smelling, and even one that smells slightly of feet. Adjacent to the lilac grove is the cherry and apple grove so it's easy enough to wander from the heady scent of lilac over to the blooming trees for a bit of a palate cleanser. I love that the cherry and apple trees bloom concurrent with the lilacs. It makes the trip doubly fun. 

Here, in pictures, is a summary of my trip to the Arb last Friday. We had a stunningly gorgeous late afternoon promenade and stuck our faces in every single lilac bloom. Halfway through I started sneezing but, as the title suggests, allergies be damned - I was going to get my fill!

My friend didn't sneeze as much as me.

Blue skies and sun!

These are the tags on the trees - in case you want to identify the variety.

Look at the crazy curl on these flower petals!

Entering the apple & cherry tree grove.

Then we wandered into the maple grove.

This Norway Maple was one of the biggest trees I've ever seen.
Wildflowers by the visitor's center.