Keeping it real

The last week and a half have been a blast. I set off towards the East Coast to run into a few people who are generally part of my daily life, but that I’d maybe never met before now. I also had a list of people I’ve known for a while to see.

I started in Louisville where I met up with Shoebox for the first time. He corrupted me by feeding me bourbon for breakfast. (Ok, um, well, he furthered my corruption?) We did a tour of three distilleries in the area. (Barton’s 1792, Maker’s Mark, and Jim Beam.)

We talked a lot of politics. I seem to consider that an essential element of any get away lately.

Some old Brookfield neighbors met me for dinner one night, too. I had my first Hot Brown. It’s a decent way to ruin a diet. The Louisville area is beautiful and I will definitely be going back. There are more distilleries to tour!

From Louisville I flew to New York City to hang out with the youngest. We watched a Packer game from the near NYU campus bar Kettle of Fish. She ran into a visiting family who had grown up with one of her workmates at Simple Cafe last year.


This week has been more than anything about making the world much smaller.

That Monday I took the train from Grand Central to New Haven, Connecticut, where I found a friend of my oldest’s for a tour of Yale. (Also delivered mustard!) We went to their Beinecke rare book library and I saw my first ever Guttenberg Bible. They actually have two.

There were a couple of Audubons as well. I think I liked the story about the Shakespeare collection best, though. Evidently silly college people show up to touch the books now and then as part of a ritual.

Another day had me off to The Cloisters for a visit. The fall color was beautiful looking over into New Jersey, and the medieval museum was nice. The Forty Part Motet installation was incredible. I took a bunch of photos for some friends of mine who are working on their second book. They want to use the location in the novel.


I saw Jersey Boys (Swoon!) and Mary-Louise Parker in The Snow Geese. (Bummer, but I knew that about the story when I bought the ticket.)

Oh, and I found my way to Eataly and a Shake Shack. It’s a good thing there were a lot of subway rides involved because NYC is a wonderful place to eat. The stupid subway is a forced Stairmaster.

I also met up with a guy who lives in Chicago but I know from Guatemala for lunch. He heads the foundation where we’re helping to build a library in Parramos. Neither of us realized the other was in the city until a brief text about another detail. It was the second small-world story of the trip.

Then it was a train from Penn Station to Washington, D.C. (Did you know it’s actually cheaper to pay for a cab so you can rent a car from Reagan airport than to rent a car from Union Station?) I landed in Virginia at peak color for the fall. It is gorgeous here. It’s also jam-packed with some of my favorite people.

Friday I had lunch with Randy in Richmond. (THE Randy in Richmond!) Well, we ate in Fredericksburg, but yes, after all these years and all of his blog entries, I met Randy. For real. And we had a great time.

People laugh at finding friends over the internet, but I argue it is no different than my mother keeping a childhood penpal for many years that she’s only seen a couple of times. And in this day of easy communication, finding friends with interests just like yours is faster than ever. Of course, your neighbors think you are nuts when you mention you’ll be lunching with these to-date invisible people, but hey. We knew that about me already, didn’t we? 😉

Then there was the wedding I attended with a young woman I’d befriended when she worked on Mark Neumann’s gubernatorial campaign. There I finally met Wisconsin native Sean Hackbarth.

I also met Gabriel Malor. He blogs at Ace of Spades HQ. Gabe (not his real name) and I knew we both had Oklahoma State in common before meeting. We didn’t know we shared a favorite professor there with which he still corresponds. So, an email is headed to said professor who will no doubt be shaking his head when my name pops up thirty years later.

Wouldn’t that scare you?

Aside from marrying off a kid (sort of!) and waking up to the fact that dancing the night away has consequences the next morning (definitely.) I finished the trip by having a quick lunch today with my favorite reporter and his wife. (Oh come on now. Everyone needs a favorite reporter!)

And that’s it. I am now in my hotel room trying to keep my eyes open and hoping to find a gas station before I turn in the car tomorrow. It has been a whirlwind, but a happy one.

I hope your past week was as fulfilling.


  1. Paul H. Henning says:

    Hello, Cindy: I suspect that there is a whole plethora of things that we do NOT agree on, but I thought your opinion piece in the Nov. 1 Journal-Sentinel regarding Glenn Grothman’s Bill 282 was spot-on. Unfortunately, Grothman has no independent thoughts of his own; he is merely a tool for the national Republican agenda of voter supression and rolling back legislation pertaining to campaign donations and transparency to pre-Watergate standards (if you can even call them “standards”). It is nice to see a conservative with an independent brain rather than one who follows in lock-step with the Tea Partiers or ALEC. If we had more conservatives like that, perhaps both the Wisconsin and US legislatures could actually accomplish some things that are meaningful.

  2. Thank you for reminding me that I should pop that up here. And thanks for your comment.

    I’m an oddball. I know that. But I do not understand why common sense must be removed from politics. And I do think Republicans in WI will be shooting themselves in the foot with this change.