Last weekend, I went to Wisconsin to visit my Grandma days before her 96th birthday, and to see my parents, aunts, uncles, and a few cousins. (Well, really, just Craig and Brenda. And my cousin’s kids, HR and ZT. That’s a few?) As always, it was a beautiful experience…and it *is* an experience. There is a part of my heart that Wisconsin touches like nowhere else can.
I flew into Chicago around 130, with the expectation that I’d be spending close to two hours there before boarding my 40-minute flight to Milwaukee. I texted my parents, who were en route to Milwaukee from NJ by car and expected to pick me up in a few hours in Milwaukee. They’d had a leisurely vacation morning with a long walk, breakfast, and slow start. My dad texted back that, as serendipity would have it, they were about 20 minutes away from O’Hare. They scooped me up there and we were off to Milwaukee! (About an hour later, I received a text that my flight was delayed by an hour and a half. Even more of a win!) We went to Whole Foods for coffee and snacks for the farm, walked around Lake Michigan, then headed to Three Brothers, where we ordered far too much delicious food and talked. I am very lucky to enjoy my parents’ company so much and count them both among my closest friends. 💝
After dinner, we drove to The Farm! About two hours from Milwaukee.
Above is a poorly framed photo of a picture of The Farm, in all its glory. The farmhouse that we sleep in at The Farm is over a hundred years old and gives the sensation of having walked into a time capsule, particularly the upstairs, where the majority of my family does not like to sleep (the mattresses are probably as old as the house). Personally, I love it up there (and I can sleep almost anywhere): the rattling windowpanes, the dearth of outlets, the hidden treasures, such as my dad’s high school diploma, old photos, and other family keepsakes.
Saturday morning, our walk got rained out, so the kids and I did some face painting, which I had to quickly (and surprisingly easily) was off, so that we could get to Krohn’s for cheese curds by noon.
I got two bags of curds to bring back to the west coast and enjoyed them as a snack all week. We also stopped by the extensive yard sale happening at the house next door to the farm for this:
Apparently, my mom has been looking for one of these heavy-duty old-fashioned lemon squeezers ‘forever.’ And now she has one! (We also have an identical one at The Farm. Back in the day, all the farmhouses had the same stuffs.) That afternoon, my parents and I went to Algoma, a nearby town on the water, to pick up smoked fish. We also stopped into a local coffee shop and perused some beautiful handmade jewelry. For dinner, we feasted with everyone on bagels, smoked fish, tomato slices, and cheese, and it was delicious.
Afterwards, we went to pick up Grandma and then headed to my aunt and uncle’s cottage on Lake Michigan for an afternoon BBQ.
The views are (clearly) very beautiful. I even found myself thinking, ‘I could totally live here, and it would be so much cheaper than Santa Cruz!’ And then I remembered: winter.
The Ledvinas are known for their love of good food and good conversation, and this trip was no different. It was during this BBQ that the idea of recording Grandma telling stories first came up, and I now have plans to run with that in October. My Grandma has so much history – of our family and in general – in her head and she is still so sharp; I want to record those stories before it is too late! So, I’m planning a trip back in October to do just that, and I am very excited about it.
I was overwhelmed by emotion a few times during my short weekend visit. First because the topic of ‘getting older’ kept coming up, as all of my aunts and uncles are doing just that. My parents are the youngest of the bunch and they are in their sixties, and people are starting to talk more about how their bodies just don’t work the same as they used to. Even a couple of my cousins have had to stare down their own mortalities already. In a logical way, I totally get that this is how nature and biology and Life work, that our bodies get old and then die, and I’m down to have that conversation with people. As I’m fond of saying, ‘Getting old isn’t so bad. Better than the alternative, right?’ (Says the 31 year-old, in all her infinite wisdom.) On the other hand, the reality that this ‘getting old’ thing is happening to some of my favorite people in the world is…unsettling. As Grandma says, ‘It doesn’t do to dwell on these things.’ Moving on…
Actually, I’m going to stop my reflections there so that I can get this posted finally. I still have to update y’all about last weekend’s boating trip to my friend’s cabin, and all the rest of life! Luckily, this upcoming weekend will be a quiet one at home, with no obligations, and plenty of time to read and write, which is all I want right now. 😊
I also have my first on-call shifts this week, now that I’m officially off of probation as a supervisor. I’m a teensy bit nervous, but I’m at a big advantage over other new supervisors going on-call, as my day job as the Screening Supervisor is pretty much identical to what the supervisors do on-call. (I’m also excited because we make great money from being on-call. Wahoo!)