Sunday, August 10, 2008

Beer, Brats, Boobs, and the Bible

As I mentioned I went to Green Bay the other day for some training. While I was there I noted that Green Bay is a much smaller city that I always thought (a little over 100k people) and it seems to be currently revitalizing itself.

As I have just started traveling around, I find it so interesting in different states because of the different state cultures... California definitely has one and can even be broken down into distinct Northern and Southern California differences. During my brief stay in Wisconsin, I just started noticing a bit of a cultural clue that was especially obvious in Green Bay... they have a fondness for Beer, Brats, Boobs, and Bible. I am not sure if Wisconsin is considered bible belt country but it seemed like every other radio station had some kinda religious thing going on. I drove around a bit looking for the downtown area and wandered into Olde Town. Olde Town had several breweries and 'dancing halls'... 'gentleman clubs'... 'strip joints'... whatever you wanna call them. As I was driving I even saw a gal who fit the stereotype of a stripper walking down the street towards her car. She had on some whoppin' high heels, a mini skirt, the obligatory long blond hair (obligatory for both the Midwest and for strippers), a button down white shirt, and a fedora. I was wondering when the ZZ top music was going to start.

However, to defend Green Bay, this is not particular to Green Bay. When I crossed the Michigan border into Wisconsin I had to pass through a town called Spread Eagle. There is a golf course there, a couple of bars... in a row... some miscellaneous shops, and of course a nearby exotic dance club. As I drove through these areas I was desperately hitting scan on my radio over and over to try to get away from both the mild christian rock stations to the fiery... 'you are going to burn in hell for eternity if you do ____ (enter the appropriate sin here)' talk shows. It was all very interesting and by the way...

Oh I almost forgot... they are big on cheese too! I even saw a Cheese and Candy shop! I tried to get a picture of it but it was too blurry.

Just so you all know so I don't get any crazy comments about Wisconsin... from what I saw... Wisconsin is a beautiful, clean state. Green Green Green and the people were all very friendly.

Speaking of green, when I was not training I went to Green Bay's botanical gardens. I really enjoyed it, and I think when I am in different cities for an extended period I might start looking into going to more of these. There is a great one just outside of Fort Bragg, California that our family always enjoyed. When they are organized nicely and not too expensive these can be a fun relaxing detour. Some let you bring leashed dogs, others allow picnics... find out where your local one is and give it a try!

The Green Bay gardens cost $5 to enter, it was a sunny very warm day, and the gardens are organized very well. This post is going to be mostly pictures of the gardens I saw... I have to tell you that I started taking pictures before I even made it in the gate! Their parking lot and entrance had great displays! I will put little comments here and there... maybe. I also had an ulterior motive while I was there. I wanted to get more ideas for our yard and thought a similar climate botanical gardens would be just the spot. So without further ado....

Down the garden path we will go...

Check it out below... those ferny looking things in the background are not ferns.. they are rainbow swiss chard! Very edible (Like a spinach or beet green) and pretty too! They were planted in large swaths with flowers in between. This is a great idea... on a much smaller scale of course, unless you are REALLY into Rainbow Swiss Chard.

And then below look at this contrasting planting. It is petunias and an ornamental pepper! Look how dark those leaves are! It was a cool planting there was a large grouping of them interwoven to show off the contrast. One could have the same effect I bet with flowers and the darker purple basils.

I liked that grouping above because of all the different types of leaves you can see in the picture. Spiny ones, round ones, pointy ones and then there is the different colors.

These two below were part of the children's garden area. This small bridge led to a large playset. This picture unfortunately did not do it justice. The plantings were all whimsical and wild.

The second picture is a close up of the interior of a covered bridge... it was an arched bridge, actually nearly horseshoe shaped, and the wire frame itself had tendrils so in the winter when the winding plants died off it would still look natural and plant-like. Very nice.

and then in the center of the herb garden:

and then this... and I quote from the Green Bay Botanical Garden website:

Stumpf Belvedere - The Belvedere is an example of an early Grecian Gazebo. The stars, clouds, and moon cut into its roof capture the poetry of the view as much as the quote from Wisconsin Poet Laureate, Ellen Kort.

The Belvedere was so cool!
The light showed through the top and made glowing reflections on the inside of the dome.

The poem carved into the base wraps around the inside edge of the bench:

and then my favorite... the Vanderperren English Cottage Garden:

Then finally ... I left the garden, and I left training.

After 3 1/2 long days I headed home...

As quickly as I was rolling out of town, a storm was quickly rolling in. It was getting darker, and windier, and kinda wild looking. I am not quite sure what kind of storm it was because while trying to find a radio station that was not telling me how naughty I was, I only heard the end of the radio emergency beeping thing after hearing an announcer say...

"...if you are near shelter take cover" then beeep.. beeeeep... beeeeep..

and then the christians started singing and yelling again. I was like... "what?! what did that guy just say?! what was that?!" Once again I was frantically pushing the scan button to see if the emergency notice was going to be repeated on some other channel.

It wasn't.
Well, that's helpful.

You see, I am a newby to this Midwest storm thing so when I hear an emergency signal where someone is actually talking... and it is not just a test of the emergency broadcasting system... I always think about Dorothy and Toto...

I know I know... they were fortunate enough to be in Kansas. ;)
But you never know where a tornado might pop up...
they are kinda like ninjas that way.

So, I looked around real quick to make sure that storm did not have a tail growing...
(took a picture just to share)
then clicked my heels three times and wished for home.

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