Friday, August 23, 2013

COTTON CANDY EVOLUTION

There's something so right, and yet, so wrong about this picture...


I'm instantly transported back to my childhood. Some of the greatest, most carefree years of my life. Every summer my parents would take us to this amusement park in Green Bay called Bay Beach. There were rides, and arcade & a couple different park areas to cook out and play on swings & slides under these huge trees right on the bay. Most of the time my Grandma Madeline (my Mom's Mom) was with us. She would go on the train ride and the merry-go-round with me as many times as I wanted. I wasn't a thrill seeker or a risk taker. I had bad experiences on the tilt-a-whirl and the scrambler at a young age and they terrified me. The ferris wheel was so huge I was intimidated by it. I did go on the bumper cars once in awhile but my brother always thought it was funny when he and his friend spun me out and cornered me so I lost interest fast. The building that contained the arcade looked like the White House--at least it did to me, a 9 year old from Wisconsin. :). There was also a small concession stand inside with a lot of tables. So while we played games, my mom and my Grandma would sit at the tables that looked out over the bay. Sometimes the big double doors were propped wide open and that air would fill the building. When I close my eyes, I can be there again. I can here all the "dings"! and "bling blings"! from the games and feel the humid bay air whip through my hair. But my FAVORITE part? THE COTTON CANDY STAND. That's right. I was so easily pleased. I absolutely loved the way that sweet sugary smell drifted on the breeze all through the park! It was the classic, trademark, "cotton candy pink". Freshly spun onto a cardboard stick while you waited. 
I'm guessing that by now you have guessed what was "wrong with that first photo. If not, maybe this one will help. 


I'm not a fan of the imposter colors that have made their way into the cotton candy world. I'm also not a fan of the fact that finding a cotton candy stand that will give you freshly spun cotton on a stick is a rarity. It's all pre-bagged. Ugh. I guess I have to make my peace with that. And sometimes I can make my peace with the blue cotton. But I can't deal with that yellow and green stuff. Why are they ruining something that was so great in it's classic form? Evolution? Is evolution of cotton candy even a true concept? I guess if you love it as much as I do, then it is. 
I know this is a short post, but man, this cotton candy thing really bothers me. LOL I really am hanging on to my childhood a little too tight. :)

Thursday, July 4, 2013

THE GHOST OF INDEPENDENCE DAYS PAST...



It's crazy how your mind gets flooded with memories of your childhood when you visit the same places time after time. This year, Pat & I are waiting for the fireworks in the same little town that I watched them in while I was growing up. I remember the summers they were rained out and cancelled and it felt like the world had ended because it was one less exciting summer night out spent with my friends. I was a country girl. I wasn't like the kids who lived in town and they could all walk or ride their bikes to the nearest park to hang out every night. Seeing my friends during the summer was an event, it took planning and coordination among parents. Not an easy task to accomplish, especially on a holiday. Luckily most everyone around here celebrated in the same small town.
When I was young, we started the day at my Grandma's house just north of the city limits. We picked her up and came back into town for the parade. In the 30 some years I attended that parade, I have to say not much had changed. But it was oddly comforting. :). Then after we gathered up our handful of candy we went back to Grandma's house and had a cookout. We hung out all day until it was time for the fireworks and then we came back up to the park where we laid in the grass impatiently waiting to see the glow of the flares the firemen used to light the fireworks display. It's all done by hand here--it still is.


Over the years some things have changed, our Grandma has gone to heaven. But I like to think that when I'm here, in her town watching these fireworks that on a few occasions we watched from the bedroom window of her house, that she is with me. My Aunt & Uncle built a house on Grandma's property. For many years they carried on the parade/cookout tradition. Now we host the the cookout and have foregone the parade. I miss it, to be honest. I actually got to be in it a few times. My sister's employer had a float and I was invited to throw candy. It was about 100 degrees that day and we had a Chevy truck bed full of goods. I was with another girl and we just left the parking lot to get on the route, and we encounter this lovely senior lady, a very warm, gramma-ee looking woman watering her flowers in the front yard. My friend and I smiled and waved to her and she turned the garden hose on us! That pretty much set the tone for the parade route. We got water-ballooned from rooftops, and ambushed with 5 gallon pails of the coldest water on earth. The truck bed looked like a pool and we looked like drowned rats. We ended up giving an entire box of candy to someone toward the end of the route just so we could hide! And somehow... It's one of the best times of my life!


I've wanted to explore and go other places for the 4th because I heard their fireworks are better, but my heart keeps bringing me back here. I've only missed a few years. And in comparison to where I was, I wish I had been here. Even through the suckee years where the displays were cheap and they sucked!
Big picture: I'm here right now, it's dusk and the neighbors are shooting off some impressive "warm up" fireworks. But I am anxious for the big show. I'm going to put this blog on hold because I would like to try to capture a few photos to insert in here to lessen the boredom factor. :) Happy 4th of July everyone! ~ Angi
As promised: photos... (All captured with my iPhone 5, so I know they aren't the greatest quality--but they are still fun!)








Sunday, August 14, 2011

TIME'S MAKIN' CHANGES...

I don't know what it is lately, but I am completely obsessed with my age. And wanting to go back in time, to about the summer of 1988, when I was 11 years old. I think about how things are now, compared to how things were then, and every day I long more and more to turn back the hands of time. Just to experience the little things again...
Every summer, two of my best friends spent almost every Monday-Friday at their grandparent's house; which was right down the dead end road from my house. The only thing separating us was a quarter-mile of beat up asphalt, 3 hay fields, and a corn field (which sometimes rotated to an oats field). We would take turns riding our bikes or walking to the other's house in the morning, come home for lunch, (sometimes spending that time together too), and then doing it all over again in the afternoon. I loved visiting them most. Their grandparent's had a farm and I loved feeding the cows and the pigs, playing with the kittens, laying on our backs, legs crossed, on bales of hay chatting about boys and our dreams on hay wagons in the hot summer sun. We also made "deer beds" in the hay field and played hide-and-go-seek in the corn fields. I remember how sweet the air smelled when the alfalfa was in full bloom on the hottest summer nights. It was intoxicating. (That smell still makes me smile today). We also caught tadpoles that hatched out in the big water tanks outside for the cattle.
Sometimes we even got dirty and did some work. Baling hay was actually FUN. And the best part was, they hired a really hot boy my age and his dad. As soon as the hay fell, I knew it was a matter of 2, maybe 3 days, and I would see him. He'd come out and spend all day baling, and then we'd all spend the evenings unloading. After we were finished, the farmers had a FABULOUS lunch that we all enjoyed. All of us kids, (me, my two girl friends, my little brother, and "the hot boy"), would opt to eat outside and chase lightning bugs and talk about "summer stuff". The days it rained, I was truly sad because I knew I wouldn't be seeing that boy and his dad cruising down that dead end road on their way to work on the farm. And that would be a day I didn't get to see him smile. Or hear him laugh. Or see his sparkly brown eyes.
Tonight as my Beloved and I were taking our ritual drive around "the country block" looking for furries and enjoying the sunset, I was telling him how when we were kids, we only watched TV when there was nothing to do outside. Summer seemed to last forever; I never counted down the days and I was able to enjoy it so much more. We used to pick these weeds out of the ditches and when you put them in a bonfire, they made a Snap! Crackle! Pop! sound like Rice Krispies. Pop Rocks were a scientific marvel. We would take a stick, and some string and put a hook on the end and let it hang in my grandparent's creek all day long and never get bored. We'd catch minnows in that same creek, just to watch them swim around in our bucket for awhile and then we'd let them go. We'd climb their maple tree and lay up there in silence for hours, content just to be above the world and watch it turn. We'd run in the hay fields and catch butterflies to study their colors while they sat quietly in a jar. Then we'd let them fly away.
Lightning bugs didn't get off so easily though... *laughing* My brother and his friends would catch them, pinch them til they popped and swipe the juice on their face like war paint. It only lasted a few seconds, but if you were good, you could do two at the same time and make both cheeks glow at once! Although I couldn't do the actual "popping", I did let them paint me. *shakes head* Why I let them smear bug guts on my face is beyond me! *laughing*
I remember walking in my grandparent's house in the evening while Grampa was watching Brewer games. (I can still hear the commentary in my head). But he would always stop watching and give me his full attention. Sometimes I'd even sit and watch with him, while he explained the finer points of the game to me. (And sometimes he shared his *a-hem* "expert opinions" as well). Gram was usually in the kitchen baking, or going through recipes deciding what she was going to bake the following day. There was almost always fresh watermelon cut, and some delectable dessert to sample, and she was always willing to sit and chat at her giant oak kitchen table. Gram's kitchen was ALWAYS open. You could never leave hungry.
I loved watching her do laundry. She had one of those old-school wringer-washers with the 2 rollers that squeezed the water out of your clothes and flattened them like a pancake, until about 1999. And that's how she liked it. They didn't have a telephone until the 90's either. They just didn't see a need for it. But as they got older, their children insisted on it, for their safety. So they gave in.
I loved spending the weekend there. I'd wake up to the sound of "AM 1360 WOZZ" old country and breakfast was always worthy of a blue ribbon. I'd spend the mid-morning coloring or playing the piano or exploring the upstairs and all the old photo albums and antiques. When lunch rolled around, we'd all sit together and Grampa would read the paper. The afternoon was spent outside, playing in the garden or the tree or by the creek. Dinner was excellent. I always walked away stuffed and pretty much ready for bed. I'd snuggle on the couch and watch TV, or back in those days I'd listen to my "Walkman" with musical selections like Bon Jovi, White Lion, GNR, Martika, Debbie Gibson, New Kids On The Block or Milli Vanilli. (Yes, messed up, I know). But the cool night breeze cruising through the living room window carrying the scents of summer along with the chirping of crickets and frogs was the ultimate country lullaby.
As hard and as often as I wish for it, and hope for it, and pray for it, I know I'll never get those days back. Grampa is in heaven, Gram is almost 95 and can no longer live at home. My girl friends are all grown up and have moved away. The neighbors quit farming, one has passed away. My brother doesn't want to chase lightning bugs anymore. "The hot boy" is still hot *laughs* but doesn't work for the neighbor anymore. I DEFINITELY don't listen to Milli Vanilli anymore.
I'm trying to continue Gram's culinary legacy, practicing (screwing up) her recipes on a daily basis. I'll never have the magic touch that she did, but maybe I can create a little magic of my own.
The one thing I can do, is continue to enjoy the moments that still occur, like the sweet smell of alfalfa in the air...the sound of the frogs and crickets...And I might even climb that maple tree before this summer is over....


Wednesday, February 9, 2011

I HAVE A STORY TO TELL...

For a very long time, I've been told by MANY people, I should write a book based on "my life".  I've gone through some pretty traumatic stuff.  And for that reason, everyone thinks I should crank out a book.  I can't tell you how many times people have heard what happened and then said, "OH MY GOD! THAT'S MOVIE MATERIAL!"  I have a hard time wrapping my head around a concept like that...

Writing about that time of my life would be really difficult for many reasons.  It would be painful to relive those moments, even if just in my mind, and I've tried really hard for many years to move past it.  So why erase the progress (how large or small it may be), I've already made?  That was between 17 and 19 years ago.  During a pivotal time in life.  I missed so many rites of passage...prom, homecoming, graduating with honors, going out with friends on the weekends, so many things so many other teenagers get to do.  I missed them all. 

When people are sitting around reliving their first kiss, first date, date to prom, etc., I'm trying to escape because those are all topics I don't want to discuss.  It's time I can never get back, and it just makes me SAD.  I WANTED to maybe be on the pom squad, I WANTED to go to homecoming and prom, I WANTED to go to the movies with friends on the weekends...  Instead, I was locked in an abusive relationship and I was lucky to ever even see daylight, let alone other people.  I was even torn from my family.  They were made to be my "enemies".  How twisted is that?  I can't believe I FELL FOR IT.  It's crazy what the mind can do...but I digress...

Even if I "wanted" to write about all of this, I'm not sure I could.  I have forced so much of it to the furthest corner of my mind that I'm not sure if I want to, or even COULD, bring it forth again to write about it in detail.  Some of the events will NEVER be erased or even dulled, but some of the day to day "normal" things are all but forgotten.  What sucks is that, along with trying to mentally erase all of those day to day memories that were bad, also goes some of the good that happened during the same time.  Birthdays, stories grandparents told me, family events, just "things" that I would have LIKED to remember...I CAN'T.  Perhaps under a state of hypnosis I could, but really, would it be worth it?  To maybe bring myself back to a state of sheer terror and panic and confusion?  All to write a book for the world that may never even  appreciate it for the lesson that lies within?  And!! Do I REALLY want the world to KNOW *I* went through that?  Am I ready to see my name and story in print?  Will I want to rip every book off of every shelf out of embarrassment because I allowed such despicable things to take place?  Could I really handle putting my entire life on "display"?  Huh.  I.  DON'T.  KNOW.  

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

THE MAGIC OF CIVICS...

If anyone had told me 20 years ago, that I would have spent the last 15 minutes before sunset walking across a hay field watching the skies for geese, inhaling the scent of Gio cologne wafting through the air that my crush from junior high was wearing, I would have told them they were completely insane. And yet, it's true. I did that tonight. I'm sitting here right now shaking my head and smiling, knowing my history with this boy.
It all started in my 7th grade Civics class. I scored a seat in the back corner of the room, right by the door. So when the "hall monitors" came to pick up the attendance for that hour, I had a prime view. Of course the teacher for this class was beyond cool...Mr. 'M' was young and had a knack for relating to the younger generation while still maintaining a necessary level of authority. He also thought it be "fun" to play on the "weakness" of a "little girl's" crush. He caught me gazing at this boy every time he came around. He'd even prolong my "agony" by holding him up with casual conversation. It was SO HARD not to just stare at this boy and soak up every feature, his sparkly eyes, his cute blond hair, his intoxicating smile...*sigh*....yes, this boy had everything a 7th grade girl could ever want or dream of. He was a year older than I, and hung with the popular crowd if I remember correctly; which meant a few things, one of which was that he was waaaa-haay out of my league. So I was left with nothing but my daily dose of the boy when he came to pick up attendance. And somehow, that was good enough for me. BUT...hoooo-hoooo, BUT--Mr. M, sensed that I wanted more. So during his "casual" conversation with the boy, I heard him mention my name along with "she's cute right?" All I could think was "Oh, holy fuuuuuuck." I don't think I looked at the boy for a week after that, for fear he would somehow think I had asked Mr. M to say those things to him about me. But I couldn't hold out any longer than a week. No way. I missed his eyes. I missed his smile. I missed his voice. I missed his laugh. And technically, he'd never know these things. And he never did.
Then, one faithful day, September 1, 2009, as I was laying in the middle of a wheat field, on opening day of goose season, I was checking FaceBook. On my page, "the boy" had been my "friend" even though we'd never actually spoken. But we have mutual friends and went to school together--and well--you know how FaceBook works. So I see a post from the boy stating: Text me the goose report *cell number*. I half laughed and half cringed because, here I was, in the PERFECT position to communicate with the boy, but so I go out on a limb and actually DO IT?! Well, either I was feeling especially brave that morning or the lack of sleep caused a temporary lapse of good judgment in my brain because I just "DID IT". When I hit "send", I screamed inside and squeezed my eyes shut waiting for the backlash. It wasn't 10 minutes later that my BlackBerry chirped and I had one new text. Oh crap. My heart started pounding but I knew I had to finish what I started. The text read something to the effect of: "thanks, who is this?". Then I was like shiiiiiit. So I decided to bust out my wits and go to war with the boy. So I replied that I was the queen of the GOOSE MAFIA and he requested the goose report so who better to get it from than "ME"?? So eventually he nailed it down to who I was and we "joked" about a joint hunt someday.
WELL...turns out "someday" wasn't too far off in the future. We planned to meet out at the "D.O.T." In October, just about a month after our first contact. I was sooooo excited....but sooooo-oooh nervous. I'd say there were butterflies in my tummy but that would be completely inaccurate. It was more like BATS flop'n around in there. So finally, we meet he jumps out of his truck, and turns around, and this wave of heat washed over me. I was instantly that "little girl" back in 7th grade, with the crush on the 8th grade 7th hour hall monitor. His eyes, his smile...all fully intact. Damn him. But I had to get it together. So I tried my best and introduced him to the guys and got the hunt under way.
After that things just got better, our friendship grew and we even revisited the 7th grade crush incident. He claimed he didn't know. But I think he was just being polite as to protect my school girl crush memories. We even joke about it in front of everyone else, but it's more of an inside joke and a way for us to rip on each other. But I love it. I love those eyes. I love that smile. I love that laugh. The only difference is that, now he KNOWS about it...

Monday, August 30, 2010

THE END.

6:30 PM  An hour and a half separating me from my weekend.  Friday nights are usually pretty slow after 6:00.  I was hoping tonight was no exception.  Maybe Harold would close up shop early like he does some times when it's slow...I think he's just as anxious as I am to get the weekend going.  Not much time had lapsed when I heard the familiar "RING" of the bells above the glass entry doors.  I heard some boyish banter and laughing.  When I rounded the corner I was relieved to see it was only my younger brother and some of his friends coming for what was undoubtedly, their usual Friday night fair, frozen pizzas and soda.  But what happened next was not what I expected.  When my boyfriend walked through the doors and our eyes met, I know mine sparkled with excitement as my breath caught in my lungs and I smiled as brightly as I could.  But he didn't return the sentiment...no...indeed he did not.  Instead his smile quickly turned to a look of anger and his eyes were transfixed on my now confused face.  I suddenly had this pang of fear and doubt run through my body...as he approached, my heart rate picked up; not like it normally does; when my body is all "aflutter" with my tragic love for him.  This time, it was strictly out of FEAR.  When we were finally face to face, and the other boys were out of ear shot, he said to me in a hushed tone, "you look very pretty tonight...is that a new shirt?"  Unclear of his intentions, I meekly whispered, "yes."  He took a deep breath, looked around once more and then with all the restraint he had in his body he whispered angrily, "DON'T. EVER. WEAR. IT. AGAIN."  I, of course, didn't know how to respond to this.  I could feel my whole body go weak, and I swallowed hard.  Just then, the other boys and my brother came wheeling around the corner laughing and joking around as usual.  I shook off what had just transpired to the best of my ability, and plastered a fake smile on my face, while holding back the inevitable flood of tears that otherwise would have occurred.  I took in the natural "ribbing" from the guys, and 'he' acted as though nothing was out of the ordinary.  As the boys left, he threw a frightening glance over his shoulder, just as he disappeared through the doors...  That, was the beginning of the end.

Monday, August 16, 2010

WHAT LITTTLE GIRLS ARE MADE OF...

When I was a little girl,  I never wore dresses or painted my nails or did anything normal girls that age wanted to do...  "Be a princess!" OH HELL NO!  Thinking back, I don't think I ever possessed an ounce of "typical little girl" status. I always hung out with the boys.  Mostly because the majority of my family consists of  "boys" and therefore, I didn't have a whole lot of choice in the matter.  Getting the boys to conform to the idea of me tagging along with them was the issue.  I had plenty of girl friends who I spent time with on a regular basis, but quite frankly, they were fucking boring compared to the time spent with my brothers, my cousins and their friends. I was the redneck girl thrashing through the mud on a quad with her cousins laughing like a maniac!  To this day, I'm still the little girl, wanting to tag along with the boys on their dangerous adventures rather than go to the mall or try on absurd amounts of clothing "just for the hell of it."  90% of my closet is dedicated to Fox Racing apparel, and the other 10% is split between Harley Davidson, camo and custom clothing made for the hunt club I co-created, "THE GOOSE MAFIA" (TM).  No Gap or American Eagle or Banana Republic for this chick...NOPE.  Don't get me wrong, I DO retain a fair amount of feminine status--this girl likes to look good...in and out of the field.  My hair has its very own reputation to uphold.  It's my favorite feature.  See? I really AM a chick *Wink*
I'm the girl all the boys love--and the one all the girls love to hate.  I'm a huge fan of any and all forms of weaponry (guns, bows, etc.) and hunting, fishing and explosives.  Yes, this girl loves her a little T-N-T!  Therefore, I can closely relate to most guys and that is awesome for me and awesome for them and COMPLETE hell for their girlfriends.  *Laughs*  I think it's funny. 
*Smiles bigger* I've also got sort of a brilliant, genius, maniac, lunatic "cousin" as we call him.  He's in the military and has served 2 deployments in Iraq...not SHORT ones either--18 months a crack.  He's home now.  Safe and sound....well....I use that term loosely.  He's as safe as a licensed pyro can possibly be.  *Laughs*  I remember him coming up to my grandparents almost every weekend for YEARS while I was a teenager and he was always causing some kind of chaos--wait--that's a lie--it was complete and pure pandemonium! ...and funnily enough, I always wanted in on the action.  I idolized this maniac.  We did some heinous things, but all in good fun, no one was ever hurt (that I'm aware of) and they are some of the funniest  memories and most missed times of my life that I can recall.  I'll give you a "milk and marshmallows" sampling of what we did--we paint balled the neighbors cows in 3 or four different fluorescent colors.  *shakes head laughing*  We were so fucking juvenile!!  And the worst part is, if you put a loaded paint ball gun in my hand right now, I'd do the same damn thing without thinking twice.  I do believe there were some M80's and a particular river/culvert incident too...that made me giggle. *shakes head*  Ever since then, spending time with that crazy cousin of mine, and being in such close proximity to weaponry and explosives,  and his constant fucking encouragement of my usage of such mechanics,  I now consider myself to be a fairly warped individual.  And I'm pretty sure some of my girf friends question my sanity on a regular basis.  I saw a pro pyro show a couple days ago put on by the PGI (Pyrotechnics Guild International) and my cousin was head of security at this particular shindig.  I had temporary VIP status and got to go behind the scenes...I saw and felt things NO ONE else ever could or will.  It only fueled the flames!  *Laughs* No pun intended, really.  I love playing with fire.  LOVE IT.  It's a complete rush.  Everyone plays with fire in their own way, mine just happens to be in the literal sense of the word.... There's something about that trademark "THUUUUNK!!" when a 12" shell ignites and the way the concussion resonates through your chest while watching sparks fly choreographed and synced perfectly to the beat of music.  It's like being thrown into an alternate universe... if you just let yourself "go" it's like falling through a magical tunnel of stars that sparkle infinitely.  It's how I imagine HEAVEN.  Instead of traveling through this metaphorical heaven, I want to CREATE it!