Monthly Archives: August 2015

Door County Road Trip 2015

Last weekend was the annual Power family Door County summer vacation, and it was a hell of a good time. We organized this year’s summer trip so we could attend Grandpa Madel’s second memorial and visit with the Madel clan (read more about Grandpa and his first memorial).

Part of the memorial was a naming ceremony at the Door County Public Library in Sturgeon Bay, where Grandpa volunteered for decades. Grandpa worked with the Friends of the Library, organizing the collection of books for sale and researching prices of rare and out-of-print editions. Many of his children and grandchildren spent hours upon hours in that library basement with Grandpa, so it was the perfect place to first gather with everyone. The Friends of the Library honored Grandpa and his service by re-naming the room after him:

Grandma Madel with Doug (left), Mike (center), and Paul (right)

Grandma Madel with Doug (left), Mike (center), and Paul (right)

The reception, organized by the Friends, was thoughtful and lovely–a perfect way to memorialize Grandpa.

The whole crew (Photo Courtesy of Danielle--thanks, Danielle!)

The whole crew (Photo Courtesy of Danielle–thanks, Danielle!)

Neill, Trevor, Rachel, and Sean pose with Grandma

Neill, Trevor, Rachel, and Sean pose with Grandma

Trevor browses the collection

Trevor browses the collection

The naming ceremony and reception, though, wasn’t the only game in town lined up to honor Mel Madel. Doug organized a memorial at the Collins Learning Center, a beautiful lecture hall and teaching facility in the Crossroads at Big Creek nature preserve. The memorial was Saturday afternoon, and the day was beautiful. We ate lunch together with the Madels and assorted friends of Grandma and Grandpa, watched a touching slide show Doug had put together, and wandered around the grounds–the old school house, chapel, barn, and general store–near the learning center.


Schoolhouse Coat Room

Trevor takes the pulpit

Trevor takes the pulpit

Red Barn



Before we left, we said hi to the animals in the Collins Learning Center’s exhibits:

Animal in a Tree

I can’t get out of this tree. Please get me out of this tree.


Need a dam built? I’m your guy.


Please get Uncle Mike. I’d like to tell him ‘hello.’

Laura the Fish

That fish with the hair is suspicious. I don’t trust her.

We spent the evening with the family again, this time at the house where Paul, Jen, Ben, and Danielle were staying on Kangaroo Lake. We ate, drank, played games, talked by the bonfire, and enjoyed spending a perfect night with relatives we don’t get to see often enough. And we heard stories about Grandpa, which are always a joy to listen to.

Playing Poker

Cousins playing poker

Kangaroo Lake

And it wouldn’t have been a Power Family Door County vacation without some wandering around. We went to Moonlight Bay, just down the street from our rental house.

Looking for Frogs

Fran, Angelique, and Rachel, pointing at…

Green Frog

…one of these guys!

The creek near Moonlight Bay was hopping with frogs (yep, I did that). Sadie tried to catch some, but we weren’t prepared with a net, so we went home frog-less.

Sadie Looks for Frogs

Looking good, but lamenting the lack of a frog

Looking good, but lamenting the lack of a frog (and Neill is helping Sadie carry her satchel, which she is obviously very protective of)

And of course it really wouldn’t have been a trip to Door County without a quick stop in Grandpa’s library. It’s looking so much emptier than usual because he bequeathed so much of his collection to his children and grandchildren. But it’s still got shelves and shelves of books, and a lot of Grandpa’s personal memorabilia.

A well organized library, thanks to Uncle Mark

A well organized library, thanks to Uncle Mark

Grandpa's Ode to Mark Twain

Grandpa’s Ode to Mark Twain

Hubba, hubba

Hubba, hubba–some pin-ups from Grandpa’s war-time scrapbook

Self-portraits from Grandpa's war-time scrapbook

Snapshots from Grandpa’s war-time scrapbook

Melvin Robert Madel: War-Time Self-Portraits

Melvin Robert Madel: War-Time Self-Portraits

It was a short, but sweet trip. We realized how nice it is to see the extended Madel family, and because of that Trevor and I want to take a trip to Montana to visit Uncle Mike and Ben and his family; and while we’re at it, we’ll take trips to New York and Amsterdam, too. It’s a good thing to have family in such great parts of the world.

And of course, it was a melancholy trip. We all felt Grandpa, there in the library with us and when we hugged Grandma. And we saw him when we looked at his sister, Mildred, and his sons, especially Paul, who is the spitting image of Grandpa. But we still have the library, Grandma, Mildred, Paul, and everyone else. And that makes us very happy.

Know what else makes me happy? Amazing tiger-art that Trevor found at a shop in downtown Sturgeon Bay.

I'm 100% positive Grandpa would have liked this card Trevor spotted in a Sturgeon Bay store

I’m 100% positive Grandpa would have liked this card

And you know what else makes me happy? one a.m. dance parties with my sisters-in-law. There are thankfully no pictures of that, but please imagine it. Got it? You’re welcome.

Sunday Media

Yesterday morning, Trevor and I woke up early (early for a Saturday) to watch the Manchester United v. Tottenham match that kicked off at 6:45 a.m. CST. It was the first game of the Premiere League 2015/2016 season, and we won (although the only goal was an Spurs own-goal [the first time an own goal has kicked off the season in many many many years] so we’re not tremendously proud, and, likely, neither is poor Kyle Walker).

Manchester United Soccer Ball

Not only did I wake up to watch this game — usually for a game that early, T. will come to tell me that it’s about to start, and I’ll mumble some nonsense like “I’ll be right down” into my pillow and then go back to sleep — but I stayed awake through the whole match, not taking my usual half-time nap (from which I usually don’t wake up until hours later).

This is what usually wakes me up.

This is what usually wakes me up.

And then the match was over; it was 8:45 a.m. on a Saturday morning and I was awake. (!!) Trevor, because he is a productive human person on the weekends, started his vacuuming routine, and I figured I’d try to do my part in the cleaning game. I scrubbed our two bathrooms and then showered up to be ready for the day. And it was still only 11 a.m. (!!!) I didn’t even know what to do with myself.

T. and I decided to have an early lunch and then do some wandering in downtown Crystal Lake to enjoy the rest of the morning. We stopped by CL’s used book store, Buy Local Books.

Yay! We Have Books

Some of fiction we looked through yesterday

Some of the fiction we looked through yesterday

Buy Local will take your books, not for cash, but for store credit. And they’ll take almost anything as long as it’s in good condition. I have an account there but haven’t brought in any books in a while, so I used my remaining $.66 in store credit along with an additional $.68 in cold, hard cash for this little gem:

The best $.68 I've spent in a while

The best $.68 I’ve spent in a while

I am thankful to be starting school in a week, because I’ve spent much too much time lately buying books. And the stacks are starting to pile up. Last week I was in Evanston to get my hair cut by the Amazing Audrey at Art + Science, and, of course, I stopped in at Market Fresh Books, where they sell books by the pound. Yes. By the pound. If the summer wasn’t winding down soon, I’d be in some real biblio-trouble.

From Market Fresh Books in Evanston, where they sell books by the pound.

This stack of nine books rang up to about $38, and that Ephron alone is worth that much!

The pile above includes a bound galley copy of Chuck Palahniuk’s Pygmy with the reviewer’s handwritten notes on the flyleaf; a first edition of Nora Ephron’s Heartburn (containing a recipe for the best bread pudding I’ve ever had); and a trade paperback of Larry Heinemann’s Paco’s Story.

You might remember that I recently purchased a mass market copy of this same Heinemann book during our trip to Stone Soup Books in Camden, ME. And if you’re Trevor, then you know that I also have a number of other copies of this same book, mostly first edition hard covers.

It's possible that there's a fourth copy in my office at school.

It’s possible that there’s a fourth copy in my office at school.

I have a compulsion to buy any copy of this book that I come across. Heinemann was a graduate school professor of mine, and although I had excellent professors for every class during my years at DePaul, Larry was my favorite. And Paco’s Story is a great book, so I want to own them all. My additional excuse for picking up the trade paperback at Market Fresh is that it’s a reading copy that I’d happily lend out to any of my students. So, it’s like a giveaway book, and those are good to have (that’s also why I grabbed the mass market The Color Purple; I frequently do book giveaways in my classroom during Banned Books Week [Celebrating the Freedom to Read!], and this is a perfect copy for that use).

And now it’s Sunday. Trevor and I have watched more Premiere League games, eaten a breakfast of disproportionately sized pancakes,

Pancake Breakfast

It’s like the big pancake has a smaller pancake hat on its head.

and we’re getting ready to dive into the pile of media we picked up from the library yesterday after we left the book store.

Library Haul

The Channing Tatum movie and Eraserhead are for me, as is the Scott Hawkins book (which I started but am having trouble getting into; though I heard good things about it, so I’ll keep going). At some point today, we’ll hunker down and watch some movies. And maybe take a nap. And then watch the season finale of True Detective while following the live Twitter feeds of people also watching it and reveling in its absurdly unclear dialogue and plot.

Because the carpets are vacuumed and the bathrooms are scrubbed, and the lawn is mowed (thank you for that, Trevor). So what else is a gloomy Sunday good for?


(except, maybe, macaroni and cheese. so, yes, we’ll probably eat some of that.)