Welcome to our web site. For more information about Stephie's art, please also check out artbystephie.com.
For Matt's writing projects, please go to storiesbymatt.net. Enjoy your visit here!

09/26/15: We finished up our little vacation in Madison. We've been there a few times before and really enjoyed it. Being the state capitol, it's a good size city, but it also contains the UofW campus, so it's got the feel of a small college town. We just spent a couple of days looking in the book stores, coffee shops, and restaurants, and just bumming around in general. We finished the trip by attending the fabulous Farmers Market which rings the capitol building every weekend. The web site claims it's the largest in the US, and I believe it. It took us several hours to walk the entire thing, and by the time we were done, my arm was falling off from carrying all the bags! The only bad thing about it is that it's very crowded, and they have a peculiar rule there that dogs are not allowed in city parks, which the capitol square is designated. It was not a problem this time, because Kisu was at the spa, but if we had her with us, one of us would have to stay across the street at all times. We did that once and it wasn't fun. We did have fun this time, and came home with lots of good, fresh produce, and even some meat and cheese.

09/25/15: One stop on our mini-vacation was the Blaum Brothers Distilling Co. in Galena. We took the tour, and it was certainly worth the time and the small charge. It was very entertaining and informative, and since the guys are movie fans, we got to see the flux capacitor that powers the whole place (no, not really).
     This is a really neat business, started by two brothers who were craft whiskey aficionados. They've only been in business a little over a year, but they've become popular in the area, making gin and vodka. They have a novel way of getting the community involved, as they throw "labeling parties," when local volunteers spend an evening at their facility sticking labels on their bottles. They turn it into a big pizza party, and there seems to be some product tasting going on as well, if you catch my drift. All the volunteers mark the labels, so they might be in a liquor store later and see a bottle that they helped get to market!
     I'm not a big fan of vodka or gin, but I was interested in their bourbon. Unfortunately, they have not been open long enough to have any of their personal bourbon properly aged. They have bought aged bourbon from a reputable distillery and have blended it to approximate what they feel their end product will taste like.
     One of the samples at the end of the tour was the bourbon, and it was pretty good. I planned to buy a bottle, but I saw they also carry a special Galena Reserve, a one-off batch of something interesting, and this time it was their Knotter Bourbon Madeira Cask Finish bourbon. I went back an asked for a sample. She gave it to me in a little tiny plastic cup, and when I tried it, it made my toes tingle! I promptly bought a bottle.

09/24/15: We took a little vacation to celebrate our anniversary, and our first stop was Galena. We'd been there a few times before, and always had a good time, but this was the first time we were there when the weather was warm, so we walked around more and saw much that we didn't see previously. One thing we saw was a message written in chalk on a curb directing us to the Galena Clay Works, only three blocks away. Well, they must use a different yardstick in that part of the country because it seemed like we walked a mile before seeing the building, which was this rickety shack you see here. It was wide open, shelves full of pottery, and no one was around. In the corner was a locked box marked "Pay Here" and a sign which said "Hi, thanks for shopping... I am not here right now. Leave cash, check or IOU here. Thanks for your honesty." I was somewhat astonished that in this day and age, someone is able to run a business on the honor system. We didn't buy anything that night, but went back the next day, hoping to meet the artist in person. He wasn't there at that time, either, so we bought Kisu a new water bowl, stuck the money in the box and left him a note that we appreciated his business model.
     After the long trek back from the Clay Works, we headed to over to take in the P.T. Murphy Magic Show, and I have to say that I was greatly impressed. He has a little 24-seat theater just off the main street in town, and when we showed up to buy tickets at the box office, the magician himself greeted us and took our money. We had a nice conversation with him as more people showed up, and once he got started, we knew we were in for something special. Most magic I've seen has been either simple card tricks table-side at a restaurant, or one of the big mega-shows on TV or in a concert-like setting, but there we were, in a crowd of little more than a dozen people, watching a real magic show right in front of us. It was fantastic! I would highly recommend that if you're going to Galena, or are anywhere in the area, you should make it a point to get tickets for that show. You won't be disappointed.

09/23/15: Can it really have been 25 years since my sweetie and me swapped our "I do's" in front of family, friends, and the world? Apparently it has, because that's what we celebrated today. If you want to read my observations of that wonderful day, click here. Happy Anniversary, my love.

09/19/15: I got this fortune out of a cookie when I visited Panda Express for lunch. They know me too well.

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