The Thanksgiving Bowl.

posted in: Day In The Life, Family, Sicky, Travel 0
A cheerful greeting from the Apple Valley Lanes website.
A cheerful greeting from the Apple Valley Lanes website.

Thanksgiving is on WiWi this year, and I am presently nestled in a nook.

The nook is the cozy, upstairs reading room at our island cottage; the nestling is due to me sitting in an over-stuffed chair (replete with ottoman), a well-worn quilt wrapped around me so that I am a quilt burrito. It would be great to have armholes in this quilt burrito but it’s bad for my reputation to go around cutting armholes into quilts. I adjust.

We couldn’t get from Chicago to the last ferry boat last night, so we had to stay on the mainland; “we” is me, my younger sister Rebecca, and her fiance (and my friend), Jack. We have a favorite little motel in Sturgeon Bay but it was too early when we got there to turn in for the night. The options for movies were lackluster at best, and I have no idea what possessed me, but when my sister said, “Well, what should we do tonight?” I blurted out, “Let’s go bowling!”

Rebecca and I both took bowling in high school. At Winterset Senior High, bowling, square-dancing, line-dancing, and tinikling for some incomprehensible reason. I remember being pretty good at bowling and liking it, but I have not kept my game up since.

We found a wonderful bowling alley very close to our hotel. The Apple Valley Lanes in Sturgeon Bay gets two thumbs way up. The proprietor was friendly, the onion rings were scalding hot, the shoes were sufficiently deodorized and Lysol-ed, and best of all, there was room for the three of us to have our own lane, our own computer to keep score, and a table for our drinks.

Jack was excellent; Rebecca was quite good, once she warmed up. I was excellent to begin with but in the second of three games, an evil spirit entered my bowling ball. My last game, I bowled a twenty-seven. Twenty-seven! I can hardly admit it.

My body has been absolutely in agony the past week. The stress of the move, the upheaval, the changes in work — the ol’ girl’s run ragged, I’m afraid. Terrible nights turn into excruciating mornings and I beg for sleep only to wake again, run to the bathroom, weep, bathe, and do it all again 30 minutes later. I say this because a) writing it out here it makes it not feel like a nightmare that only I see; and b) it makes three hours at a Sturgeon Bay bowling alley not just fun but fundamental.


Relocation Options: Option Two, Wisconsin

posted in: Day In The Life, Travel 2
Me, showing off my quilt from the upper level of the Arnie J. Richter ferry boat, Washington Island, WI. It was about 10 degrees that day.
Me, showing off my quilt from the upper level of the Arnie J. Richter ferry boat, Washington Island, WI. It was about 10 degrees that day.

Picture me in barrister’s robes and one of those funny wigs, pacing back and forth on the wood floor as I offer for your review, ladies and gentlemen, a quick look at the facts:

1. Yuri and I have agreed that living together is not what we should do right now.
2. My condo in Chicago is unavailable, as I have tenants in the unit through mid-June.
3. I do not wish to stay in New York.

If you’d like to consider with me Option One, you’ll need to read the full post here. Now, in your mind, please take this wig off me and get me out of those barrister robes and into something sensible as I proceed with what, as I see it, is my second option:

Option No. 2: Sunrise Cottage — Washington Island, WI
My family has blood ties to an extraordinary place called Washington Island, a 23-square-mile island seven miles off the tip of Wisconsin’s Door Peninsula. My grandparents are buried there. My great-grandparents are buried there. My aunt and six cousins live there. My mother taught quilting at the fiber arts school up there; two summers ago, I taught quilting there, too. As children, my sisters and I would spend weeks of our summer vacation, splashing in the lake waters and lazing around watching VHS videos, trying to get MTV on some old TV set. Even through the divorce and on through all four years of college, every summer we were (and are) playing and relaxing and communing with WiWi. (W.I. = Washington Island, W.I. = Wisconsin, ergo, “WiWi.”)

About six years ago, my family finally made a home up there. We had been cabin renters through the years, but now we have a cottage — a cozy, beautiful, light-filled, perfect cottage on the lake. Because of this happy event, we can now have Thanksgivings, Christmases, and winter escapes up there, too. There’s a fireplace, a boathouse, and lots of board games and if heaven is real, it probably looks a lot like a snowy afternoon on WiWi while a pie bakes in the oven and you’re smack in the middle of an amazing book. Sounds brilliant, right? Why not go there, sink into the comfort and joy of this magical island?

What are you, nuts?!

I can’t be on an island in the middle of winter! I travel for work a good 40% of my time! It’s a good thing I love airports because I’m in them a lot. Getting to and from the airport, to and from a gig, to and from a shoot, etc. is always a bit of a schlep. Adding an icy ferry boat ride, a 2-hour drive to the nearest airport (Green Bay) and Wisconsin weather from October through about May is not my idea of a wise plan.

The other problem with WiWI is that it is a remote place in psychic terms as well as geographical ones. Just 660 people live there year-round. I wrote most of my book up there during a two-week stretch in the winter of ’13 and I got a little squirrelly. The frosty, starry sky is beautiful at night, but the land is plunged into pitch black starting around 5pm until the sun rises around 6am. Staring into a roaring fire is super over a four-day weekend up there; staring into the fire night after night and you start becoming the one-woman sequel to Altered States. Mom and Mark aren’t there year-round for this very reason. Six months on WiWi and I might end up curled up on the couch, listening to the all-Catholic talk radio station, eating jumbo marshmallows out of a wicker basket.

New York out. Chicago out. Iowa out. Wisconsin out. Tomorrow, Option Three.

*Note: I cannot believe all of the gracious offers I have had since yesterday from people offering me to stay in their home or come to their city. Thank you.