15 January 2017

5, 4, 3, 2, 1 - Milwaukee!

Maybe going to Milwaukee for the weekend when the temperature hovered around zero Fahrenheit was not the best planning, but other than the stark cold the weather was nice: clear and sunny.  People were in a good mood because the Packers (boooo!) are in the playoffs.  All the travel items were cheap because of the time of year (even with the Packers being in the playoffs).  And I am a hardy person.

Because Southwest doesn't fly to or from Milwaukee on Saturdays, at least not to or from my town, I went on Friday evening and home on Sunday, perfect excuse for a weekend away.  Arriving on Friday I went immediately to the Milwaukee Art Museum, which had a Free First Friday (now moved to Thursdays) event.  I wanted to arrive for the gallery talk for "Haunted Screens: German Cinema in the 1920s" and was not impressed with the talk but did enjoy the exhibit.  Then wandered the museum to see as many others as I could before being thrown out when it closed.

Because I was hungry (there's a cafe at the museum but why waste time eating when there is art to see?) I located a nearby Culver's and obtained a fish sandwich (because it's Friday!) and concrete (peaches and blueberries).  I ate most of the latter while waiting for my sandwich.  Then to the hotel to check in, settle in the room, eat supper, and bedtime!

The hotel had a nice breakfast buffet included in the room price, and while the teens and tweens filled up on waffles I fortified myself with oatmeal with nuts and dried fruit, and hardboiled eggs.  With an apple and banana in my pocket, I headed out for adventures!

The Milwaukee County Historical Society staff was still setting up their new exhibit, "Melodies and Memories: 200 Years of Milwaukee Music", but they allowed me inside and it was quite interesting.  The museum is in a former bank, so some permanent exhibits are in the old vaults.  I've been in spaces with partially-installed exhibits so I know how to stay out of the way, and was able to watch as they did things like moving a piano into one of the vaults which was being set up for small concerts.

When I was done there I walked to the Grohmann Museum, crossing the Milwaukee River and wondering whether it's firmly frozen enough for people to skate upon.  There was a small outdoor rink on one bank, with a couple of hardy skaters moving slowly around.

The museum opened at noon, and it wasn't quite that, so to keep warm I walked around campus looking at other buildings, many from the brewers of the area, Pabst and Blatz.  When the museum opened, I had a fascinating couple of hours moving from top to bottom (at the recommendation of the student who admitted me, and advised that the rooftop gallery was closed but I could see it from the hallway) looking at "the world’s most comprehensive art collection dedicated to the evolution of human work."  The works are in groupings with very useful information cards, and range from agricultural to scientific to industrial, and in media ranging from sculpted bronze to paintings to a floor mosaic and ceiling mural.

I headed back to the hotel after this, because I wanted to drive to the next stop.  Of course, I had to first stop at The Spice House and do a bit of shopping!  I also stopped at the Usinger's store across the way, but without a way to cook I didn't buy anything.

It was a quick drive to The Pabst Mansion, which was still decorated for the holidays.  No photography allowed, but we could wander throughout and ask questions of staff and volunteers stationed on each floor.  They had recently opened the third floor, which had been offices, and are in the process of restoring the rooms.  We could see where they had taken down some later-added molding, or a mirror, and found original wallpaper behind it.

On the way back to my hotel I stopped at the Wisconsin Cheese Mart, which was also walking distance from my hotel, but since I could find a parking spot, I decided to skip the cold walk.  I bought several pieces of cheese (and tasted many more), and two kringles, and some toasted barley.  Then I moved to the connected bar for a brat (of course on a pretzel roll, with mustard and sauerkraut) and a Sprecher's root beer.  I was tempted by one of the many local beers or cider on tap, but had further plans for the evening and I am too much of a lightweight to risk it.

My plans involved a local holiday show, still running.  Since I go to so many quirky ones in Dallas every year (The Beulaville Baptist Book Club Presents: A Bur-Less-Q Nutcracker!Santa Claus versus The Martiansand others) when I saw a listing for In Tandem Theater's 
Holiday Hell: The Curse of Perry Williams it settled what I would do on Saturday night.  I scored a seat in the middle of the second row, and really enjoyed the show.  Five persons portrayed all the characters, which covered a wide range, and even though the ending was holiday-predictable it was a very fun show.

After another good night's sleep and another fortifying breakfast, I checked out and my friend Tori picked me up for a bit of visiting.  We went to the Milwaukee Public Market (where The Spice House has an outpost) for lunch, and then to the Chudnow Museum of Yesteryear, which Tori had never seen.  We got there in time for a tour, and enjoyed it so much we're planning to go back after a couple of the exhibits change in April.  Having worked up a bit of thirst walking around, we split a butterscotch root beer, which I had never heard of, but enjoyed.

Tori dropped me back at the car park, and I headed for a brief visit with Mari, whom I had met through KnitTalk, and her husband Scott.
We're wrapped in a scarf made of squares that various KnitTalk
members created when Mari first was diagnosed with cancer
many years ago.  The purple/pink flower in front of me is mine!

Then to the airport, where I had a long wait due to a delayed flight.  The delay meant a negative-minutes connection, so I could not check bags and had to consolidate to two.  I had just enough room to do it, but had to wear my winter boots (I wanted to switch to sneakers for the flight) and could hope the kringles didn't get crushed.  Happily, Southwest holds flights when it's the only (it was) or last (ditto) one of the day, so I got home just a bit late.

When I totaled up the adventures, I calculated that even without pushing myself to add activities I managed to fit 
five museums, four shops, three eating places, two friends, and one theatre show into forty-eight hours.  Plus of course a bit of walking, knitting, reading, and relaxing.  Not bad!

On the trip and in the week since I've been knitting pussyhats for people to wear at the various marches and rallies.  I managed to score some pink yarn at the end of last year, and managed to dye a sample skein for a class I am teaching today that came out in a brilliant, and quite hat-acceptable, shade of pink.  Luckily these are quick items to create!

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