Fun’ Raising vs Fund Raising

What is fun? Is it something that makes you feel good and you want to go back for more? People’s choices and ideas of fun activities can vary a great deal. Natureman refers to a long bike ride as fun and I’m thinking that was arduous, I don’t call that fun. Different strokes for different folks, right?

Last night almost a dozen women came over for our annual dinner gathering marking the 13th anniversary of our Rosh Chodesh group. Usually we have a larger attendance but some folks were out of town/ entertaining out of town visitors . If I tell you the group’s associated with the New Moon each month, I can imagine some eyes rolling. You see, it is a spirtuality group which has programming that is sometimes more fun than others. As I shared a bit of history for some new faces I made a comment about how it’s not a group based on fundraising which many women’s groups are. It’s not that we haven’t done charitable actions together in the past ie collections for shelters/pantries but that’s not the group’s purpose. We’re together to celebrate the new moon and nurture our souls sprinkled with learning and sharing.

Around the table our ages spanned decades, 20’s + and our brainstorming for this upcoming year’s programs varied ranging from serious discussions to the arts from which hopefully each member can also encounter some fun. It is always fun to spend time with these women…


Another full weekend with good food, good friends and good conversation but this weekend no family but Milwaukee friends, Aura and David with an at home picnic, porch time,

taking in the International Garden’s blooms and river views,

an impromptu trolley Dark History tour with an exuberant docent which many in our area will recognize as the recently retired Public Library director.

a filling Mexican lunch at Señor Villa’s accompanied with some peach mango margaritas. ¡Olé!

a jaunt up Granddad’s Bluff for the region’s Mississippi scenic views,

participating in Lights for Liberty Friday night after a nice Shabbos meal,

Celebrating a 50th wedding anniversary with friends Saturday night

Sunday Greek Fest with a lamb kebab lunch in addition to oil and arak wine tasting, folk dancing with Maritza from Winona playing …

Ending the weekend with very spirited congregational annual meeting Sunday…

These humanoids wear me out…


Unfortunately we had to rush a bit through dinner but it was for a good cause and it would take us a good half hour to arrive to Cameron Park in La Crosse Wisconsin and join others at the Lights for Liberty Vigil, a growing resistance to immigrant detention policies and centers

In over 700 other U.S. cities a similar vigil would be taking place at 9pm when people would take a moment of silence while shining a light to rid the darkness regarding our treatment of innocent children and and their families as they seek asylum in this country.

Albeit a small town we had about 200 gathered to listen to speakers re: immigration policies, native peoples and asylum seekers and the despicable treatment they are receiving.

Then we walked a couple of blocks with signs, flashlights and phones in hand as we crossing the Cass Street bridge where we were in place by 9pm to observe the moment of silence and turn on our lights.

Even the sky put on its own light show.

May we all let our lights shine and be seen and heard… You can help by donating monies to RAICES The Refugee and Immigrant Center for Education and Legal Services (RAICES)serves immigrants and refugees by providing immigration-related legal services, advocacy and opportunities for educational and social support. We believe that by actively promoting the well-being and informed participation of immigrants and refugees in the community, everyone benefits.


It’s nice to be a destination in other’s summer trips. Today Milwaukee friends have included us in their ‘summer break’ after spending time up north in Duluth and Northfield, Minnesota.

We’re anticipating adding on to their last visit’s memories when we checked out the Mississippi backwaters.

Definites are a picnic dinner and listening to Moon Tunes in Riverside Park weather permitting this evening. The rest we’ll play by ear… You just never know what adventures may be in store when you visit the End of the Rainbow Valley.

These Shoes Weren’t Meant For Walking…

Excuse me if I steal the iconic song made famous by Nancy Sinatra singing “These boots Were Made for Walking” and change up the words a bit to “These Shoes Weren’t Meant for Walking” because of what 9 year old bonus little and I came upon yesterday when we returned to End of the Rainbow Valley.

When I left yesterday at 7:30 am to go pick up one of my bonus granddaughters for our date day in the Miata. ( I knew she’d get a kick of riding in the Miata), there on the road was a road grader back finally to smooth the once back top road that has been flooded out like 3x since last fall.

I should have known it might not be so easy returning. I’m not complaining mind you because it’ll be nice to have the loose gravel and dirt without the holes made a bit more permanent. As I headed east on the country highway I passed 3 road repair vehicles heading west. Yep, this was serious road repair business.

Wouldn’t you know they had just started spraying the tar upon our return? Now what? I walked towards the machines blocking passage and was told it’d be a while. Well , we’re in the country , there’s no where to go hang out. Our time was also limited to do our planned art project.

I backed up a bit and parked the Miata off the road as much as possible avoiding the wet mud from our almost daily rainfall. The car’s small trunk luckily produced long leggings helpful since they could protect me from the vicious bugs in the valley. Unfortunately, there were no extra shoes and my new cute summer black patent slip on sandals would be the ones making the journey.

The game plan was to navigate the rocky shoulder incline over the bridge. The 2o minute walk home would probably take us a half hour at this rate. One of the workman who had just dumped some rock motioned for us to walk on the road. Against my better judgement I had not even stepped 10 steps as my sandals were sticking in the excess tar ooze. The tar crept up the sides of my feet. Yuckola.

We followed the trucks tread marks on the recently laid stone arriving to the entrance of the driveway for the one mile walk. When we reached the top of the first hill by the neighbors. I realized our trek was going to be miserable and I took a chance to see if the neighbor was home and could give us a ride back. Yea, she was home and I removed my tar rock laden sandals to get into the car.

Never a dull moment…

We didn’t complete the colored glass mosaic little table as we ran out of time for the thin set but at least it looks a lot better than my sandals.

You shouldn’t be surprised that my new lyrics to that old song were “These Shoes weren’t meant for walking” kept running through my head all evening…

Another End of the Rainbow Valley memory for sure…

Celebrating July 4th

It was such a perfect holiday weekend filled with food, fun, friends and family.

Starting on the 4th we were lucky to be invited over to friends where we enjoyed deck time with appetizers, something to wet our whistles with 3 other couples followed by a yummy holiday meal of brisket, smashed potatoes, roasted vegetables, salad, pound cake and strawberries. A quick downpour couldn’t dampen a delightful evening with friends. Folks could still enjoy going to view the fireworks while we skedaddled home to make sure Balto was handling the firework noise okay.

The girls meet Dulce de Leche

Natureman’s youngest sister and family arrived late afternoon Friday after a Madison campus visit for his youngest niece. It’s been a good while since they have been in the End of the Rainbow Valley and a new dog and 2 new goat kids were added to the menagerie.

‘Lots to catch up on …

We even had a mini reunion as one of our niece’s camp friends and her Mom were also able to join us for a vegetarian dinner of grilled marinated salmon, nettle portabello lasagna, roasted peppers, dilly beans, olives, homemade challah and fruit dessert. (If you missed the watermelon cake story, scroll back one entry.)

The following am we were off to services for our new spiritual leader’s first Sabbath with us and also a special prayer for Natureman’s Mom while the camp buddies got to visit again. After services we returned home for a garden salad lunch and packing up for the Twin City crew and before they got back in the car, a walk down the road to enjoy the summer Valley. We hope they won’t wait so long to return!

With about an hour to spare before dinner, there was time to begin washing those bed linens before this week’s guests arrive. Summertime in the End of the Rainbow Valley is busy…

We had another special evening filled with an early dinner at the Ridge with friends and music. It turns out our July 4th hostess also went to the same high school as Natureman and they had an old school mate, Jon Garon, performing in town at Leo & Leona’s.

Natureman & Jon, high school

For a mere $5 cover we enjoyed Jon and friends Bill Kaiser on guitars / vocals with Julie Kaiser’s voice filling the old dance hall venue with a knock out voice. Doc Hildebrand arrived from another gig in time to complete the quartet on fiddle and they all entertained us with Blues, Jazz and Folk and Traditional American tunes.

And entertain us they did as they were terrific and even had us home in time for that jittery dog just as the fireworks really got started …

But the weekend wasn’t over yet as the next day we had an unveiling for our dear friend Marty who passed last summer. Then, we needed to return to town for a meet and greet for our new spiritual leader…

I told you it was a full Holiday weekend…

Houdini ‘s Disappearing Act

As you may remember our rescue dog Balto is known for his escapism and wears Houdini as his nickname. What we didn’t know is he does other magic tricks.

This past July 4th weekend he worked his magic on Jennifer’s special watermelon birthday cake.

Here’s our firecracker birthday girl Jennifer with her cake … Only that’s not what her cake looked like when I placed it in the cooler before dinner.

Due to the heat and lack of refrigerator space, I had purchased a 2 lb bag of ice for our largest cooler and placed the decorated cake on its glass pedestal inside to keep it cool and beautiful. This is not what the cake I put into the cooler looked like 3 hours earlier.

Yes, the real watermelon cake with almond flavored whipping cream, slivered almonds encircling it, topped with blueberries and strawberries which niece Netanya worked diligently applying fresh whipped cream and her Mom and I helped add the slivered almonds and fruit up was no longer…

We can attest the whipping cream was yummy and so can Balto as ‘Houdini’ had worked his magic. He had opened the cooler and poof ! returned it to its original watermelon state along with a couple bites off the top.

Nobody can stay upset with our house magician. Not even Natanya nor our birthday girl Jennifer who now has quite a birthday cake story to share.

(Fortunately the other half of the watermelon was in the fridge and we had more fruit…)

I bet Balto has many more disappearing tricks up his sleeve right here in the End of the Rainbow Valley…