Last full day of the Wisconsin yearly jaunt. The smallest were entertained with a swim in the lake and a movie out with Grandma; the olders were taken to Milwaukee's Third Ward, a renovated historic district with shops and galleries and restaurants and many cool old buildings. The last time I was down there was maybe when I was 20 or so and it was flat-out scary. Mainly industrial, with many boarded-up factories, bold rats scurrying about, and extremely-poorly-lit desolate parking lots that might as well have had a sign saying "STAND HERE FOR HOURLY MUGGING SERVICE." Not good. But that was long ago, and the Third Ward is now quite lovely, safe, and hip, and the buildings returned to their original charm. We were primarily on the hunt for Excellent Wisconsin Cheese to bring back to Seattle-ish tomorrow, a sacred task. If you were not raised as I was with fresh and amazing cheese served to you daily, I am not sure I can explain the exquisite palate pleasure adequately to you. I will do almost anything for great cheese.

So we went into the new and nifty Milwaukee Public Market to find the West Allis Cheese & Sausage Shoppe. They sell over 150 different kinds of Wisconsin-made cheese. MY GOD. This is my pornography.

I hope you feel for me. How could I choose? I love ALL CHEESE. Well, OK, not American cheese because that is made from oil and plutonium, which is NOT CHEESE. But the rest is all yum. I was really struggling. You can only bring back so much cheese. Sigh. After some samples, I picked out $84 worth of Brick, Butterkase, 2-year Cheddar, 12-year Cheddar, Cheddar curds, summer sausage, beerwurst, several of the Cheese Orphans, and some Chocolate Cheese fudge. I felt bad leaving so many swell cheeses behind and I hope I didn't hurt any of their feelings.

Look! It's my Nancy! Time to shop. We went into a resale shop called Retique, which surprised us as it was in a huge gorgeous space, the clothing was nice and well-priced, and there were items of obvious humor. (It's actually a Goodwill! Shhh!)

I had a total time warp moment to see this print, the very same three kids that hung over my folks' green couch for all of my childhood. For all I know, it is the same one.

Before heading back out into rush hour, a libation at one of the many casual brewstaurants around, The Wicked Hop. Have you. Ever in your life. Seen a Bloody Mary so filled with FOOD?

That's a pickle, a beef stick, string cheese, a mushroom, an olive, a shrimp, and a lemon and a lime slice. Dinner!

Back on the highway.

When we got back, most everyone else played poker. MissSeven asked me if I wanted to sit out on the dock and watch the sunset. Of course I did, and sat there long after she flitted away to another adventure.