Saturday, May 31, 2014

1931; No no you naughty; From his window; Grace; The Congo; Random parade shots


This was my mother's graduation pin made for her friends
when she was prom queen at Sun Prairie WI high school -
a one and a half inch long item
starting with the back of the pin above
showing the simple 1931 fsstening method

Press down on the brass wire
and voila! it opens by moving the wire to the bottom
of the comma-shaped opening.

Put it on the garment you wish
and it is easy to close and lock it in place
without having to see behind it.


Memorial Day
we remember our mother, Ruth Elies (Dix, Hale)
who has appeared under that name in the Raccoon before.
(search R-u-t-h)
She is the one who formed her own dance band
at age thirteen (13).....


and we remember her this Memorial Day
as a wife of a soldier away fighting WW II
in France and Germany
because she is honorable on this particular holiday -
those who sat and waited did their war time too.

The late Ruth, organist at one time at the Congo

and many etcs...


pip pip pip!
no no you naughty pussy
no no you naughty pussy!
no no you naughty pussy!

Up on the dining room table
you know you aren't supposed to be there
such a good kitty
in most every way

but now I will have to squirt you
and gutsy you, you are posing
right next to the ever-ready water bottle/
plant mister

You run when I grab it


Monet, Van Gogh, at Home

The wonder that Monet
had time to paint, the vast
size of the garden and across
the road, the Japanese pond,
a man enchanted with nature—
flowers, water, haystacks, and
light! A blind man's obsession
with light, every slant of the sundial
documented, time filtering

What a life! Two wives
the second with six children!
No wonder the huge table
in the dining room, fourteen chairs,
all canary yellow; the blue-
and white-tiled kitchen, large
and commodious, festooned
with copper pots;
the large bedroom overlooking
the garden: to throw open
these shutters in the morning!
So much life!

Modest, difficult, van Gogh
thought himself one link in the chain
and took the yellow house at Arles,
on Place Lamartine, hoping
others would come. A table
and two chairs and just enough
left for broth and coffee.

Gauguin fled after two months
when Vincent chased him
with a razor. He painted
"Gauguin's Chair" empty except
for a lit candle, in memory
of the failure.

Toward the end, he painted
the vestibule near his room,
the yard where he was confined,
night sky from his window.

"Monet, Van Gogh, at Home" by Norita Dittberner-Jax from The Watch. © Whistling Shade Press




When the young professor folded
his hands at dinner and spoke to God
about my safe arrival
through the snow, thanking Him also
for the food we were about to eat,
it was in the tone of voice I use
to speak to friends when I call
and get their answering machines,
chatting about this and that
in a casual voice,
picturing them listening
but too busy to pick up the phone,
or out taking care of important
business somewhere else.

The next day, flying home
through a windy
and overwhelming sky, I knew
I envied his rapport with God
and hoped his prayers
would keep my plane aloft.

"Grace" by Linda Pastan from The Last Uncle. © W.W. Norton, 2002.


The Raccoon News
of Waukesha

rarely recommends particular foodstuffs but
an exception is being made here.
The 'special company' mentioned in last week's
Saturday edition brought their orchard's
un-Pasteurized (keep refrigerated) apple cider 
as a get acquainted gift for us.

Their third generation orchard in Rochester WI
has several websites.  It is known as the 
Ela Apple Orchard.

Never have I tasted cider more delicious than this.
Dee and I are sure to make the drive to the orchard
to get some more of this product!


From our patio
aka: the parking garage roof

Redbud tree in bloom

The church is affectionately called "THE CONGO"
1st Congregational UCC
100 E. Broadway, Waukesha

Leave your guns at home


Random Memorial Day parade pix

Politicians may come....

politicians may go....

Yes, but....

..... the public ye shall have with you ever 

and the SOUTH land will rise again:

Saturday, May 24, 2014

b/w Silver Spoon; Kindness in Waukesha; Lecture; Clouds at OF; A beautiful Jewish ritual; Company coming!


The trick is using counterbalancing

Jello eaten from re-used sherbet container
Is what I mean


Kindness in Waukesha
Bill Penzey sends out good Waukesha WI words
with the Penzey national spices/catalog current publication.


A father lectures soon-to-be son in law


Thanks to John Marotta for sending clip to the Raccoon.


my thoughts are scattered
and they're cloudy....

Cloud formations out of the Odd Fellows windows
bottom image is the 'Bay of Wisconia'


via Email from Rev. Tom Bentz

An Open & Affirming Church

Tom says to The Wauk. Raccoon:
"A joyous Jewish wedding in Italy
(Long die Mussolini, Hitler and hate)
as a cantor croons an Andrea Boccelli love song in Hebrew." 


Company is coming!

We have some special guests today, Saturday,
visiting us for the first time at the Odd Fellows Putney.
As luck would have it, Fiona of Berg Management
is planting this year's variegated Impatiens in the big bed
in front of our building...

Dee put finishing touch to some super crackers she made
from scratch, using a pastry cutter to get the jagged edge.
Each cracker is cut singly and came out a perfect golden brown.

Note to Doug James:  Behind the crackers is our old Joan Beringer Pripps
tray she painted up near Still Woods WI...I'm gonna be watching for morels
at the Farmers Market, fyi.

Taking a break between bakings, Dee and KD Cat sit at the Main St. windows.

Cannot divulge cracker recipe or the lunch menu of Dee's at this time.
The crackers do have a lot of grated Swiss cheese and rosemary in them.

This much-pictured in the raccoon loft apartment has never stood so tall
in preparation for these guests, also un-named at this time.

("Your shoes and brass WILL be highly POLE'-ished!" - 1st Sgt. Ft. Leonard Wood MO)


(Want fries with that?)


My congratulations and thanks for those who have so well freshened the mighty Fox River that flows through our community. Very nearly the best job possible, given that we’ve built up to it all around. It now isn’t possible to take it all the way back to Native American times, when it was totally clear, drinkable, and lovely in it’s natural state. But the blending of the Fox - especially through the downtown - in it’s cleaner condition with the commerce of our 21st century population is approaching idyllic.

We have received with pleasure the artful representations of dragonflies, lily pads, cement foxes, and the children-climbable metal bears at river’s edge. I only suggest that 
attention might be paid to the raccoons who live beneath the city. Not everyone is aware of them, apparently. We see them coming and going under darkness at the storm grate at our corner. So accustomed to them are we that we refer to ourselves as inhabitants of the Sewer Raccoon District.

I understand it’s an ancient family of many many raccoons who have followed the tunnels of the sewer to various single family side dens in a commune that holds their meetings in a main chamber purported to be beneath the old post office downtown.

There they pay fealty to their ancient and rheumatic king who holds forth amidst a vast treasure of purloined goods that has been accumulated over generations. The raccoon king, I’m told, wears a cape fashioned of a purple velvet drapery sample adorned with now hard to find corked bottle caps and broken pieces of glass.

The king on certain nights sends his descendants out and up into the city with their burlap bags over their shoulders, to gently burgle. Here we’ve made our peace with them and regard them as just another rightful Waukesha species that could be paid homage the next time a statue in the park is erected.

Very truly yours,

David Zep Dix, citizen and 
Ed. / Sewer Raccoon News
Waukesha WI 53186

 Big finish (fini):

Ode to a sewer raccoon

Saturday, May 17, 2014

Our whole lives In our mouths; Dee and Lee in Maryland; Great blue; Farmers again; Spring, downtown Waukesha


Occasionally, I'd wake to the sound of a hot air balloon passing over
the house, a short snarl of flame followed by a long, cool gap of
silence. And once, while everyone was still sleeping, I got on my bike
and followed to where one landed in a field across the highway, where
I stood on the ditch and watched the huge, austere bulb touch down
and the passengers, a boy and his father, climb out of the basket and
the crew deflate the envelope; where after an hour or so, just as I'd
hoped -just as I'd been hoping - someone called me over to help
fold the fabric. It was nothing like I thought it'd be. It was a lot of
waiting and then being spoken to brusquely by men who were not
my father. It did bring about a great feeling of neatness, though,
watching the enormous thing folded and folded and folded again,
until it fit, impossibly, along with the cooled burners, into its own
basket, which was hoisted onto a truck and driven away. Couldn't we
be accounted for in the same way? Didn't we, too, carry our whole
lives in our mouths?

"Messilla" by Carrie Fountain from Burn Lake. © Penguin, 2010


Dee and our son Lee
at a family wedding in Maryland
last week.

Dee in her well-earned role
as the unusual relative from Wisconsin
wore her shawl-wrap of an altar cloth
from the Congo
(Congregational UCC Church, Waukesha)

Lee came up from NYC for the event
and Mothers Day...


Here downtown
from our windows facing the 5 points
in the Odd Fellows 'penthouse'
just yesterday I saw the (a) great blue
loping up-Fox toward the dam
looking perhaps for a fishing spot
to set itself down 
along a slower-flowing current,
if any, in the rushing and swollen Fox

At dawn it will stand for long spells
motionless, staring at the water
to jab ruthlessly at a passing fish
and swallow it whole -
surprise, surprise

then back to the unmoving sentinel
fish-quest until full...

It is unmistakable:
bigger by far than anything
plying the skies in these parts;
long gangly legs trailing behind;
in front the crooked neck
with long beak sharp,

its wings so large and aeronautic
that it only flaps a little to hold altitude,
glides, glides, glides
from out of our prehistoria...

I'd like to think
'they can't take that away'
That's my wish
for us.





Spring blooms in the downtown

This week Dee and I had breakfast at the old Metropolitan
and on the walk back home
- the one block -
I got pictures of the Gingko leaves bursting forth next to the Rotunda

and in our stony courtyard
in the back, the birch tree cluster
also grows leaves
contrasting with the carefully aligned
 rocky masonry.

and upstairs at the Five Points windows
a tree blossoms its white canopy near Dave's
and the Healing Forest studio.

A mourning dove is at the seed tray, taking periodic views
inside to make sure the cat is not going to leap at it
while it's looking down.

It is a happy sound to hear the mourning doves call all around
just now, in spring.



  We incorrectly stated in reference to pianist Seth King Gengler
that Nic Gengler is Seth's stepfather.  Actually, Nic is his legally
adopted dad. Sorry.

Since that needs to be set straight, it gives us the opportunity
of again providing the link given last Sat. to Seth's splendid
and masterful Stravinsky Utube recording at his Lawrence recital.


Saturday, May 10, 2014

Farmers Market 2014; Seth King-Gengler, concert pianist and student at Lawrence U.

What I saw at the farmers market

Who Is Silvia?

Who is Silvia? what is she,
        That all our swains commend her?
Holy, fair, and wise is she;
        The heaven such grace did lend her,
That she might admir├Ęd be.

Is she kind as she is fair?
        For beauty lives with kindness.
Love doth to her eyes repair,
        To help him of his blindness,
And, being helped, inhabits there.

Then to Silvia let us sing,
        That Silvia is excelling;
She excels each mortal thing
        Upon the dull earth dwelling:
To her let us garlands bring.

                                    William Shakespeare

The prettiest thing I ever saw
happened to be at the market last Saturday.
So fortunate was I to spy her!

After kissing me - we're married - as we encountered
and comparing notes on what we'd seen
elsewhere, she continued on the Bryant bridge
over the River Fox...

Go right go wrong as waters flow
the Bryants got this right
the bridge above, the bears seen here
have given The 'Sha delight!

Flowers poked up in the Lombardi memorial
blooms gathering beauty as they waxeth
A run is advertised in its time, surely
certain as death and taxeth.

Cacti were offered as this one bought
from the pesto woman last summer
It goeth strong and so does she
sure blessings; not a bummer.

Above some farmers market usual suspects:
Kerry; Officer Bruce; Downtown alderman; The honey guy;  Farmer Zeke

Gazebo interior at the top, now by the State Bank
Note the Waukesha Seal insets made by the late Bob Uchner,
stained glass artist from Saylesville.

Planter, dead grass, in front of The Salty Toad

Waukesha Farmers market 

watch for this mutant variety again

(nfs, SRN)


Seth King-Gengler
a Waukesha talent

Lawrence University and Music Conservatory junior Seth King-Gengler gave his class recital on April 26, 2014.
He played three difficult numbers, two classical and one jazz.

I've known Seth ever since 2005 age 13 when his step-dad Nic
asked his friend at the Waukesha Old Car Club, Mel Stark, if he knew any
piano teachers who might take a listen to Seth and possibly give him some
formal instruction.  Seth was able to play as a self-taught wonder, Nic said.
He was using his uncle's electric keyboard where the keys lit up
showing you where to play.

Mel, written up here in the raccoon several times,
is a member of our church - 1st Congregational UCC, 100 E Broadway -
and is a close friend of retired piano teacher Sid Estenik, also a Congo-ite.
Mel asked Sid if he would take another student.  Mel said no, he was definitely retired.

Mel told Sid about Seth, suggesting maybe he should give a listen anyway.
Mel persisted and Sid okayed an audition just as a friend of Mel's.

The rest in history.

Sid's wife Mary said "Hey, I thought you weren't going to take any more piano students."

Sid replied, "I know I said that.  But this is different!" (Etc.)

The raccoon news invites you to give a listen to LU conservatory scholarship-receiving Seth 

Sid knew he was going to take Seth only so far and he would have to hand
him off to a more advanced teacher.  He taught Seth for 2-1/2 years. That is what happened. 
Along the way the Congo was the recipient of Seth's playing genius for special music at
Sunday services on occasion.  Sid was glad to give Seth that venue - the church -
and it gave Seth a chance to show his stuff.


 As it turned out, Mel Stark and Sidney Estenik, mother Cathy, and Nic did us all a huge favor.

The below picture was taken from my seat in the Peanut Gallery
with my lower crustacean cell camera.

Seth, left upper center in white shirt, was playing a special offertory piece
for us.  He later gave a recital in a music store basement hall in Wauwatosa
to show thanks for support shown him by church members and others.

Now we have only to watch this young man soar!  His proud parents
have given him he jump start he needed.  He's had other help,
and is as self-motivated as he was at the beginning of this saga.

Here is the jazz piece Seth played at his LU Junior Recital.
By Keith Jarett, with Seth's improvs:

Seth's gifts are multi-faceted, this shows.

Click to see the picture and write a comment...