but meanwhile, i’ve been very very busy all week which is why i haven’t posted anything here.

first – CAMPING.  we left last friday morning, and mollie was very excited to go with us on our drive to wisconsin.  i had obsessively researched everything dog-friendly i could find, and there was a dog-friendly restaurant in rockford that i wanted to stop at for lunch.  we’d have to sit outside on the patio, but that was ok, except it was awfully hot out.

here’s mollie, trying to relax in the van.

david loaned us his GPS and when we finally reached rockford a little after two,  it guided us off the highway and down the very long road through town to the restaurant.  when we got to the intersection where it was supposed to be the GPS announced that we had ARRIVED AT OUR DESTINATION.  but we couldn’t find it.  it had to be right there, but where was it?  i had called earlier to double-check and make sure it was dog-friendly.  we finally pulled into a parking lot and i called the restaurant.  they were across the street in a little strip mall.  ok, i said.  but then the woman said “but we’re closed now.”  WHAT?  they closed at two.  it’s called EGG HARBOR, a delicious place we’d tried in washington DC when attending kevin’s brother’s wedding a while ago.  so there are egg harbors all over the place, and WHAT CHAIN CLOSES FOR THE DAY AT TWO IN THE AFTERNOON?

egg harbor does.

we were disappointed, but not bitterly disappointed because it was awfully hot to sit out on a patio.  instead we pulled over at some place called “pete’s tom and jerry’s” and kevin went in and got us a huge delicious gyro.  we found a state park nearby and ate it under a shady tree.  mollie didn’t mind that she missed her first-ever opportunity to eat at a restaurant because of course she didn’t know that’s what we’d planned for her.   she was happy to eat the delicious morsels of lamb we gave her, plus a few curly fries.  yes, she’s supposed to be on a diet, but after all, she was on VACATION.

i’d assumed that because we were going to wisconsin it would be a little cooler there.  it probably is cooler, way way up there in wisconsin.  but three miles or so over the border didn’t seem to make any difference at all.

we got to the campsite at about five, and it seemed like a nice, wooded place.  there were many many sites there, and i’d chosen one that had full shade.  another group of camps were around a lake, but i chose the one far from the lake because it looked much less crowded.  when we pulled in to our little place, there were no people on either side of us.  an older couple across the way had an elaborate set-up – in addition to a tent, they had a big shelter with a screen, tiki torches that were already lit, and a neat row of solar lights along the edge.  they clearly camped a lot.

we got out of the car and were SWARMED BY MORE MOSQUITOES THAN I’VE EVER SEEN AT ONE TIME.  i mean, CLUMPS of them.  we hurriedly sprayed the 25% deet all over ourselves and sprayed mollie with her special all-natural organic doggie mosquito repellent.  the mosquitoes LAUGHED a the stuff.  they lapped it up and kept swarming all around mollie’s face and it was horrible to see, so we dabbed the strong stuff on her collar and her harness and a little on her back. I KNOW IT HAS TO BE HORRIBLE TO PUT THAT ON A LITTLE DOG, but we didn’t know what else to do.

we quickly set up the camper and got inside.  of course some of the mosquitoes followed us in and we frantically tried to squash them.  we decided to drive to kevin’s shoot location to check it out.

some of the other guys from the 114th regiment were camped out at the shooting range.  i didn’t see any water spigots anywhere, but they did have a couple of portapottys, and one of the guys had spread some kind of anti-mosquito stuff around in the grass and they seemed to be very well protected against them.  plus there was a little breeze because it wasn’t as thickly wooded.  it might have been better to sleep there.

we got back to our camp and some people had set up next to us.  most of the campsites were separated by a good distance plus trees and/or shrubs, but these people were maybe 20 feet from us, and there were big gaps in the trees between us.  this would have been a perfect place for two parties who wanted to camp next to each other.  BUT A HORRIBLE PLACE FOR US.

we were suddenly so tired that we decided to just go to sleep.  it was really early – maybe nine?  9:30?  early.  we had filled up our big water container, but we’d left it out in the van.  i was lying there and it was hot and some mosquitoes had snuck in.

and the girl next door…the damn girl next door.  i think there were two guys and two girls, but it was just that one damn girl.  she yammered, and yammered, and laughed and sang.  i put in my earplugs but her shrill, obnoxious voice pierced the air.  I FLEW IN FROM VEGAS WITH MY PARENTS AND HE WAS SUPPOSED TO PICK ME UP BUT I WAITED AND WAITED FOR HOURS AND WHEN I GOT BACK TO THE APARTMENT HE FINALLY SHOWED UP AND HE WAS DEFINITELY FUCKED UP ON SOMETHING AND HE DIDN’T EVEN TALK TO ME, HE CAME IN WITH HIS FRIENDS AND WANTED ME OUT OF THE ROOM.


and every once in a while mollie would suddenly scratch and scratch and i thought OH MY GOD SHE’S GOING TO DIE BECAUSE OF THE DEET ON HER.

and then the poison ivy started itching like crazy.  i couldn’t apply the soothing tecnu wash because i needed to mix it with water, and i wasn’t about to step outside and get attacked by mosquitoes in order to find some water.  plus what if i suddenly went berserk and tried to kill the girl?

and the girl continued to prattle.

at one point, after looking at my watch after midnight, i thought “at least kevin is sleeping soundly, since he has to shoot tomorrow.”

but nope, turns out, he wasn’t.  when we got up early saturday morning, he said he hadn’t slept much.  ditto for mollie.

we were not happy campers.

here’s a picture i took kevin on saturday morning, though, and of course he always has a smile for me, even if he’s bleary-eyed and exhausted.  he’s heating water for coffee on the coleman stove inside the camper.

and mollie, trying to get in a little more sleep.

i looked over to the campsite next door and one of the guys was just sitting quietly in a chair.  the girl was presumably asleep, or maybe she never actually went to sleep the night before; maybe they decided they, too, could not stand to hear the sound of her grating annoying voice and they sent her packing.

mollie and i drove kevin to his shoot, and he happily went off to do his thing.  mollie and i drove over rolling hills to the outskirts of kenosha, where there were two CHEESE STORES.

amy had suggested that i lock mollie in the car with the motor running, so she’d be both cool and safe from always-lurking dognappers.  our first stop was BOBBY NELSON’S CHEESE SHOP.

it was right down the block from the famous cheese store, MARS CHEESE CASTLE, but Bobby Nelson’s was a tiny little place, very cute, and the old man behind the lone counter was very friendly and talked a lot as he gave me many delicious samples.  i bought plenty of cheese and sausage and sugar-free jam and all kinds of good stuff.  here’s the front of the store.  i’d read online that people like their stuff  much better than mars’.

mollie seemed fine with being in the car when i got back, and we next went to mars.  it was much much bigger and there were tons and tons of free samples lying about all over the place and i believe i tried all of them.  i bought even more stuff, including a couple of big sausage sticks, so mollie would also have a delicious treat.

we then drove into kenosha, which looked very industrial driving in, and the same all the way down to lake michigan.  there it became upscale and fancy with new condos built on the water.  a farmer’s market was in progress and mollie and i walked through it.  she isn’t crazy about crowds, though, like her dad, plus she was very hot so we didn’t linger.  this is just as well because otherwise i’d have been tempted to buy a lot more.  i did get kevin a beautiful tie-dyed t-shirt, though.  i have a nice one, and i always thought he needed one too.

we walked around the harbor a little and oogled the fancy boats, but it was just too hot plus instead of mosquitoes, the air was filled with nasty big biting black flies.  neither mollie nor i cared for them.

amy had said i should nap in the car, so i tried that.  i laid down in the back, but it felt weird to lie there with the car running and the air conditioning on. i’ve had too many dreams about trying to drive a speeding car from the back seat, and so i kept thinking that somehow the van was going to spontaneously start running and we’d be in a world of trouble.

after a couple hours walking around, mollie and i headed back to the campsite.  i talked to amy on the phone quite a bit because i’d been thinking about just getting a hotel room, and she encouraged this.

when mollie and i got back to the campsite, i called the La Quinta, which was pet-friendly, plus they didn’t even charge a fee for your dog.  i booked us a room and quickly threw everything important into the van.

i observed that the loud obnoxious girl was still there, still yammering, and on the other side, the guys who’d arrived late the night before in the volkswagon camper were playing loud music and they suddenly had many visiting german friends.

i wasn’t sad to leave.  neither was mollie.

we checked into the hotel, mollie’s first hotel visit, and she heartily approved of it.  she wasn’t sure about going into the room and just shutting the door, though – she couldn’t understand why we weren’t exploring the whole darn hotel, and were stuck in one little room.

we drove over to get kevin and he, too, was happy about the bug-free air-conditioned comfort.  to complete the splendor of the day, we drove over to the white castle across the street and got carry out.

so there we were on a saturday night, eating white castles, and i was drinking wine out of the hotel styrofoam cup. livin large in kenosha.  life was mighty fine.

mollie, realizing no more white castles were coming her way, was finally able to relax after being nap-deprived all day.

we were going to stay in wisconsin for another day or so, and when we got up on sunday it was blessedly cool and overcast.  mollie and i dropped kevin off for his last bit of shooting, and i took her to a dog park i’d seen.  she really liked running around there, and after leisurely getting ready for the day back at the hotel, we went back to kevin’s shoot.

his team won all three of their matches, plus he got first place in one individual category and second place in a few others.  i need to take a picture of his many ribbons.

suddenly, around 11 when things were wrapping up, the sun came out and it was blazingly hot again.  we went back to the campsite, packed up the camper, and headed out.  drove through lake geneva, which i’d really wanted to see, and we sat at a traffic light for at least 15 minutes, waiting for the huge crowd of vehicles.  it was awful – clearly super-popular and super-crowded on a summer sunday afternoon.

i caught a glimpse of the lake as we wheeled through town, and we decided it really would be nice to just go home.

mollie enjoyed the ride.

now i realize that mollie is sleeping in every one of these pictures; she was really busy most of the time, and i do have some of that on video, but i don’t have time to put that up right now.

we’d like to go back to wisconsin sometime, maybe in the fall, when it isn’t boiling hot, and maybe during the week, when all the damn tourists have gone home.  and after my poison ivy is all gone.

i got a cortisone shot for my poison ivy on monday and i guess it helped although i’m still itching but not as much.

it’s much easier to deal with the itching when i’m sleeping in air-conditioning.

we’re going out on our own lake now.  mollie will be happy because she hasn’t had much excitement today.

ok then,

friday grace.