Thursday, December 22, 2005

Just Got Back From Illinois...

...well, a day or so ago, actually. And not from Illinois, but since the drive back is pretty much a tour of it's flat and dreary landscapes, it sure feels like it. No offense to the flatlanders, but the monotony just about put me to sleep. It's a ten-hour drive to Madison from Nashville, seven of those hours in Illinois. Thank God for Coke Zero and Starbucks coffee.

It was pretty cold in Madison, dropping to single digits and sub-zero windchills. The bride bundled up as best she could.


Really Cold

We stayed with my brother and his wife in McFarland. Their two sons, my nephews, were around for most of the visit. I was able to see all of my sibs and a few nephews and nieces.

This is my jock nephew and his girlfriend.


Lizzy and Colin

This is Ryan, Colin's computer graphics whiz older brother, looking entirely too serious while supposedly celebrating my visit. I must speak with him about that.


Ryan

A trip to the parent's house with my brother led to these shots of rural Juneau County roads. It's not too different than Illinois, but at least we have some bluffs.


Fields and Bluffs


Typical Juneau County Road


Octagonal Barn

A visit home means stocking up on essentials like cheese and brats. My sister-in-law took me to a place called "Brennan's Market", which is a sort-of upscale Wisconsin deli, with cheese, meat and jams and jellies. I dropped a chunk of change there, some on gifts but most on cheese reserves.

They have a six-year-old cheddar that, instead of getting sharper, gets mellower and somewhat crystalizes. Amazing flavor. I also bought some 5 and 3 year old cheddar, some Farmer cheese, garlic summer sausage, and blackberry and strawberry preserves.

Today is my birthday. I'm 44 years old, and that is a bit sobering. Maybe a slice or two of 6 y.o. cheddar will cheer me up...!

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