Wednesday, October 31, 2012

Hurricane Sandy even comes to Wisconsin


Waves crashing near Milwaukee Boat Club
I got my son, Omar, and grandson, Landon, out early yesterday before school to try and catch the sunrise over Lake Michigan.  We packed up the car with a bag of pancakes, drinks, and the Monster Mash CD and drove the 10 minutes it takes to get to the beach area of the Milwaukee lakefront by 7:25 a.m. (forecasted sunrise)

The weather report said we might get waves as high as 14 feet, while Chicago could have waves 25 feet high.  It's always fun to chase a storm...well, at least when you know you're really in no danger.  I have to admit that I've watched some of the weather reports over the past few days and can't believe the cameramen and reporters are standing in knee deep water and still reporting!  Crazy!  Most of the big flooding and rain is happening way over on the east coast, and our hearts go out to all who are suffering.  It sounds like it may take awhile to get back to normal and clean up the mess.

Unfortunately it was too cloudy to get much sun here in Milwaukee, but the color of the sky and water were an eery shade of blue.  The waves were crashing against the seawall near the boat club, and for once, I saw that they had closed the gate to the pier.  I'm glad about that, because the last time I was here looking at wave action, it was open and the waves were spilling over the sides and people were dangerously close to being swept away.  It's crazy what people will do.  We watched the waves crash for awhile and then headed over to Discovery World Pier that is closer to the breaker and lighthouse.
Here you could really tell how strong the current was.  The waves were as tall as the lighthouse as they broke against the sea wall!  This was a very powerful storm.  The wind was gusting and at one point I had to pick up Omar and carry him because he said his 70 pound frame couldn't move!  Landon was in the stroller and it was difficult to keep him upright.  We only stayed a few minutes and then hurried off to school.  Fun morning adventure.
There have been some storm photos going viral.  Maybe you've seen the soldiers standing at the tomb of the unknown soldier, or the statue of liberty with a cyclone and huge waves.  Neither are from this storm and in the age of photo shop, you really don't know what to believe.  There have been thousands of instagram photos taken during the storm and they made a special website so you can browse them at instacane.  You have to remember these are not reviewed or edited by the website, so basically anything goes.  There could be some photos that are not for younger viewers.  Instagram users put a hashtag #sandy or #frankenstorm and post them and they end up there.  It's a great way to get a larger view of the damage and what people are doing socially.  I liked one photo of a shark in a front yard in New Jersey- I mean for the photo value.  It can't be pleasant for the shark or for the people in that neighborhood.
When I lived at Eglin AFB many years ago, we survived Hurricane Opal.  It was a terrible storm that left homes in the bay, boats in the streets, and animals displaced.  We drove to Mississippi to weather out the storm, but because the evacuation route is only one street, and thousands of cars were on it, it took 12 hours to get there.  At that time, we took hurricanes and safety plans very seriously.  It was easy to grab a box of stuff I deemed irreplaceable (photo albums, birth certificates, insurance paperwork, etc.).  Since then, the internet and cell phones have come along changing the way we do things.  Now you can store all your photos at websites like shutterfly or flickr.  Even if you have photo books made from websites, they often keep duplicates indefinitely.  There are lots of suggestions for your emergency plan and emergency kit on line if you google them.  Now it's almost a necessity to have a solar charger for your cell phone, and that's something we still don't have.  Even during this storm, we've worried about our east coast relatives who lost power.  When the power was out, they could use the cell phone until it ran out of power.  A solar charger could help with that, provided there was some sunshine.  Then of course there are working flashlights with extra batteries, radio powered by batteries or solar generator, water supply, food, etc.  We need to work on some of this again.  It's not as likely we'd be in the path of a natural disaster, but many homes flooded here in our village just a couple of years ago, and it helps to have an idea for what to do.
My husband got a call last night to go to the east coast to volunteer.  He said it's so uncoordinated.  How do they choose engineers?  And what kind of plan could they possibly have at this point before the storm was even done?  He's taking a wait and see approach for now.  Hope everyone reading this stays safe.

Monday, October 29, 2012

Land of Opportunity- a New Somali Cafe in Milwaukee

 Abdulhamid has this friend Abdirizak whom he's known since kindergarten.  They went to boarding school together in Somalia.  He's such a trusted friend and knows Abdul so well that he was my wali at our wedding.  They try to get together once a week over coffee or breakfast when time allows.
His wife is an incredible cook.  I love eating at their home.  You know how when you eat at someone's house and you say, "Wow this is so good!  You should open a restaurant!"?  Well, we ate out this weekend at a new cafe started by Abdirizak's wife.  She used to sell dinners out of her home for special events to friends, and was a supplier of meals to the local Somali taxi drivers.  She had been workingin the kitchen at a nursing home, but she left that job when another family suggested they lease a cafe together and they could each cook a few days a week.  Unfortunately, after the deal was cut, the partner decided to stay in Ohio, so now she's managing a restaurant and cooking with just her own family to help.  It's a lot of work. They found a small place in the university neighborhood of Milwaukee and opened their doors just a few short weeks ago.

Chicken and basmati rice with salad
Somali flag
It's called the Blue Star Cafe- named for the Somali flag.  They serve traditional Somali foods, including goat meat and basmati rice dishes.  Omar thinks he owns the place.  As soon as we walked in the door, he headed to the kitchen to let her know he wanted the usual plain spaghetti and french fries.  My husband and Omar have been there a few times already.  They are still working on the details- printed menus and such- but it is a great place to eat already, and all the tables were full.
Abdulhamid sat down to a plate of goat meat and rice, and looked at me and said, "this couldn't happen just anywhere", and we had the talk that we often do about how in America, it doesn't matter who you are.  If you have an idea for a business, you just do it.  Not that all businesses end in success, but he loves that you can at least try.  We hope their business will grow to be successful, but for the time being it's a lot of work.  All of their kids were helping out in the kitchen.  Abdirizak, who is a full time mail carrier, is there every day to help out.  Yes, with a lot of hard work, things may work out!
Their daughter helping out in the kitchen

Friday, October 26, 2012

Eid Mubarak!

Eid Mubarak is just a greeting used among Muslims today, which is the second Eid  of the year for Muslims in the world.  This Eid-al-Adha is the celebration that marks the end of Hajj for all religious Muslims who went to Mecca, and it commemorates Abraham's willingness to give up his son to God.  Funny how most Christians and Jews don't understand that this is the same Abraham they read about in the bible and torah.  The story is that an angel asked him to sacrifice his son Isaac and he made the attempt but God blessed him and didn't actually take his son, but instead rewarded his devotion.

Abdulhamid wearing the traditional white garb for prayer in Mecca

This is at Mecca, Saudi Arabia where Hajj takes place
My husband made a trip to Mecca earlier in the year, but it was not for Hajj.  You can see the huge black cube in the photo above.  People who do Hajj, walk around the stone called the Kaaba seven times.  All Muslims are asked to do Hajj once in their lifetime if they can afford it and are able.  It's difficult to get a visa because there are more people who want to go than there is room for.  While there, they stay in tents or nearby hotels and the focus is on prayer...lots of prayer.  He says it's one of the most incredibly moving experiences because you realize people are all the same.  No matter who you are or where you come from in the world, you're all praying the same prayer together and focusing on God.

In his family for Eid, they usually go to prayer at the mosque in the morning before they eat anything.  Then we all go out for a nice breakfast.  It's bittersweet this year because his oldest sister is leaving to join a medical practice in Kenya tomorrow.  They are in need of doctors, especially women.  Most Muslim women prefer to see a woman doctor.  She has worked here for many years, but was never able to get the credentials to open her own practice.  Unfortunately foreign born doctors who received their credentials in other countries still need to take the medical exam in the US and then have to hope they will get an internship placement.  Discrimination is fierce against older doctors as well.  She was never able to get the internship to practice general medicine here, yet she is incredibly talented and can practice medicine elsewhere.  When I first married Abdulhamid, we were all able to be together for the Eid holidays with his 3 sisters and 2 brothers, but slowly they have moved away to find work.  I'm starting to think we'll be here with no family in a couple of years time.
So now you know why Muslims are gathering today and may not be at work.  If you see them, you can say "Eid Mubarak"!

Shopping the Ethnic Stores


My son loves Thai food.  My husband loves Somali and Italian.  We all love Mexican.  It's great to have so many recipes available on the internet that can be copied from restaurants where we try dishes or when we find something in our travels.  The hard part is that many of the authentic ingredients are harder to find in the local supermarket where I shop.  I've wanted to check out some ethnic stores so I could give the recipes I'm using the proper 'respect' they deserve.  Ha!  So just to preface this- these are all new to me and I was not disappointed.  I used YELP, the iphone app to help me find them.  Usually you can get some reviews that help you decide which one might be best and then there is a map link or hours.  Easy to use and I check that app all the time when we're traveling too.

I have to say that I've been in some of these stores in larger cities and it can be a bit intimidating at first. Most are in neighborhoods where a population of that ethnicity would shop there so you feel a bit out of place when you don't look like everyone else.  Then there can be a language barrier between you and the packaging, so you struggle to find stuff.  I say, get over it and get on in to these amazing stores for you will find bargains and delights!!!

Our first stop was the Fondy Market- an outdoor market that runs into late Fall and is under cover.  My husband said it was in a bad part of town, but I had heard they have really good produce grown by Hmong farmers so I wanted to go anyway.  We got there early in the day and there weren't many vendors, but they had a great supply of the things I wanted and even things I didn't know I wanted.  The nice thing about meeting with them when it's not busy is that they have time to explain some of the more 'interesting' vegetables and give you ideas for how to prepare them.  It's cheaper and fresher and in most cases ORGANIC, which I love.

A colorful array of peppers
Omar found this enormous pumpkin 


I bought so many additional veggies
 from this great teacher/farmer
Then we went on over to an Asian market, Pacific Produce, that had been recommended by the chef who did my Thai cooking class.  This place was huge and had many aisles of goods in a variety of Asian languages, I suppose.  Since I don't read those languages, I had to rely on pictures or help from a store clerk.  As soon as we walked in, Omar said, "Power Rangers Store".  If you know anything about the show, you could see why he'd assume that. I have never seen such a large variety of fish that I couldn't name.  And if you need an egg roll wrapper, they have about 20 different brands that are oddly all the same price.  It takes longer to shop like this.  I didn't know where anything was and in some cases had never seen it so I had to wander the aisles while Omar managed to lose his Captain America shield on top of a grocery shelf.  When he alerted me, I went to find a stool and he knocked over a whole shelf of goods trying to climb it like Spiderman.  We were lucky that two nice men came to the rescue and picked up the goods, retrieved the shield, and we went humbly on our way.  The produce all seemed to be extremely fresh, though much of it I couldn't identify.  The big bonus was the price.  Everything was so much cheaper.  With a little help from my friends, I found everything I needed for my Curry Shrimp which we ate for dinner, and Jake said it was good.
If you need coconut milk, they have it!
After Pacific Produce, we had one more stop- Amana- an Arab store.  It's a great place to find rice and some grains that can be harder to find in the local PicknSave.  We also buy halal meats.  This is a method used to kill the animal that is considered more humane by the Muslims.  They don't necessarily display what you want, so you have to let them know what type of meat and how you want it cut.  I asked for 3 pounds of chicken breasts and he packed it precut in cubes.  It's nice having a butcher.  You can even special order lamb or goat meat, something that Abdul likes us to serve at holidays.  The cookies and biscuit aisle aren't bad either!  Omar found a few goodies.  There's a chocolate cheesecake I've wanted to try and I found some chocolate biscuits that will be good in the crust.

Rice in various sizes and blends



One awesome detail I left out is that these ethnic stores usually have a diner/deli attached.  You can always pick up a quick bite at a low cost.  The Arab store had pita sandwiches with lamb, beef, or chicken.  Love the cucumber sauce!  There is also falafel and shawarma.  The Asian grocery both Thai and Vietnamese foods which include wonderful buns with all types of toppings, or maybe you want a fully cooked duck, complete with the head still attached.  My friend Kathy told me about a wonderful Mexican store that has cheaper beef and a great hot food selection too.  I'll have to save that one for another day!




Monday, October 22, 2012

Love those Canadians!

View from Mont Royal Park
We just spent the better part of a week in Montreal, Quebec.  My husband is a civil engineer and Montreal was the host city for the annual American Society of Civil Engineers conference.  I have wanted to come here since a friend once wrote that it was such a great place for biking and walking, so I was excited that he invited us to join him.  We got lucky and found a room at the Hilton Bonaventure, with a heated OUTDOOR pool, which was in a great location for touring the city.  The cool thing about the pool was that you entered from inside the building and swam outside in the steamy water.  You never had to get out of the water outside and get cold!  It's open all year, even when it snows.
There is simply so much to do in this city, and it doesn't even matter what the weather is like.  As it turned out, the Fall colors were at peak, so we opted to spend most of our time outdoors and never set foot in a museum, but they have many.  Every Canadian we met there was so outgoing and friendly.  They have a charming way of poking fun at themselves that makes them endearing.  I never met a Canadian I didn't really like.
We were here at least once a day!
Mont Tremblant
We rented a car and drove north to 'the mountains' the first day- the Laurentians.  It's only an hour away from the city, but getting out of the city is half the battle.  Lots of traffic, and of course we hadn't thought about how neither of us understand the Canadian traffic signs! I had a year of French in high school but that was a long time ago in a place far away so I don't remember much.  We managed to get there and back safely, but there were times, it would have been better to be at least a bit prepared.  I imagine we could have found a cheat sheet on line or something.  It was a pretty drive.  They have a fairly new highway that takes you right to the heart of the area, which parallels the older highway.  Fewer stops enroute and you get to see everything.  The down side was that this isn't tourist season.  It was past summer and not yet ski season, so nearly everything was closed in the smaller towns.  We had hoped to get in a boat ride but the only thing going was a tour in Japanese and it was booked up with a tour.  There were lots of Japanese tourists all over the region.
Notre Dame Cathedral
Loved the color at the park near the port.  The pond was drained though.
During the summer you can climb this clock tower



This was a pedestrian street- lots of cafes and artists.

















Abdul started his conference the next day, so Omar and I opted for a walking tour of the port and older Montreal.  I brought a stroller and it was a beautiful day with plenty of sunshine.  Most people weren't even wearing jackets.  I generally use a website, tripadvisor, to plan our travel.  They even had a guide for Montreal with lots of suggestions so we followed some of their suggestions as far as a route to take. I might mention that breakfast in Montreal includes the flakiest croissants available and crepes in dozens of varieties, so Omar was in heaven!  My personal favorite was the salmon bagels.  We saw artists painting canvases with cobbled streets and old windows with shutters.  We tried maple syrup treats.  We tried to climb the clock tower but it was closed for the season.  Omar did some dancing at the square outside Notre Dame Cathedral to the amusement of the many tourists. Rental bikes were readily available if we'd wanted to have a go.  Most of the older city and port are flat so it would have been a great ride.
Esmerelda the witch 

live spider

The next day it was raining, so we ventured by taxi over to the Botanical Gardens where they were having a pumpkin ball, which included hundreds of decorated pumpkins and even a witch!  Most of the activities were indoors, so it didn't matter about the weather.  Omar even enjoyed watching a play in French with a group of school children.  At the Insectarium they had a live spider doing a show about how they catch prey, etc.  I was impressed at the lengths they were willing to go to make a lesson memorable!  At dusk, they also have a magic of lanterns program in the Chinese garden at this time of year.  There were many of these beautifully lit pieces all over the garden. We were soaked but it was a day well spent.
Chinese lantern display
At the sculpture garden on Mount Royal
 Our final day we hiked to the top of Mont Royal, the highest point in the city.  Let me tell you, this is a challenge pushing a 70 pound child in a stroller up an incline that seems about 45%!  I really worked up  a sweat!  Once we reached the park, we ditched the stroller and took the stairs.  I was surprised that Omar hung in there, in spite of there being HUNDREDS of steps.  Of course, once you were up there, the view was incredible and it was totally worth the effort.  But then I realized there was a parking lot and we could easily have taken a bus.  Ah well, we got our exercise in for the day anyway.  Omar really enjoyed the sculptures as they are all very large stones and most can be climbed if you are a kid and want to give it a try.  There were lots of people in the park but it's a large place so you don't feel crowded.  After an afternoon of hiking, it was back to the room for room service pizza and a swim.  Does life get any better?  Especially when you're 7?  


Monday, October 15, 2012

Challenges and joys of parenting a child with special needs

Dance like nobody is watching
Having a child with special needs will change your life.  Omar is a handful.  Not just once in awhile, but every day.  We love him dearly but can never predict what he's going to come up with on a daily basis.  Saturday night was no exception.  He was watching a movie we had loaned from the library, called "Monster House".  It's a kid movie that he's seen before, but it has a lot of action and it's clear that Omar can't distinguish reality from a story.  The kids in the movie were struggling with a house that wants to swallow them up, and he got caught up in the action.  They were also calling for help.  Next thing I know, the TV screen is black except for a tiny white star mark where something has obviously hit it.  I asked him about it and he says he threw his magic Harry Potter plastic wand at the monster house, and now he's asking for my phone to call 911.  I go to tell my husband what happened and try to explain that it's just a movie, and while I do that, he finds my cell phone AND CALLS 911!  I ended up intercepting the phone as the nice guy on the other end is asking what kind of trouble is at the house.    Omar keeps telling him the kids are in trouble at the house.

On one hand, I'm incredibly proud.  The past month at school, they have been focusing on firefighters helping people and what to do if you're in trouble or have a fire at your house.  I see that he gets it.  He knows how to pick up the phone and get someone to listen to him in an emergency.  Now it's just a matter of him learning what a real emergency is.

Sometimes I have to pause and reflect.  I remember all the funny stuff he's done and try to remember that when it's all over, it's usually just another day and there really isn't a terrible tragedy.  Sometimes it's costly, but we get over it.  Here are just a few funny things Omar has done that keep me smiling.
I was on the computer while he decided to drag out all the leftovers and some other stuff to make breakfast for Woody. It wasn't easy getting raw egg out of the carpet.

Funniest face of all time on a ride at Universal Studios

 He painted the ball...and rolled it all over the house.
 I cleaned up paint for weeks.


This was the day he painted the baby

The TV remote had been missing.  We found it when I turned on the oven.

And then he found a way to get out of the new fence too

We had problems with him climbing out of the yard, so we got a new fence.
This was the flight where Omar broke the toilet off the wall in the bathroom.
 He isn't as innocent as he looks!  Fortunately it was easy to fix.

I was making hummingbird food and he hijacked the sugar
you can dry all sorts of body parts in one of these


We're heading out for Montreal tomorrow and I'm hoping it will be an adventure with a side dish of fun.  My husband will be in meetings all day, and Omar and I are going to do some sightseeing.  It's always a challenge.  I feel better when I have a few extra people to help out with him.  But I know in the end that whatever happens, it will all be ok in the end.  I learn not to take myself or life too seriously from Omar.

Saturday, October 13, 2012

Colonoscopy

One of those things you are told to do when you turn 50 is to get a baseline colonoscopy.  I first remember watching Katie Couric do hers on television years ago and I thought it seemed dreadful, but she was laughing her way through it.  How bad could it be?  Since my list of 50 included doing EVERYTHING you should do medically at age 50, I had to get this done.  The hard part was figuring out where to get it done.  It's not something you usually have a regular doctor for.  And then you have to figure out the insurance part of it.  I started with just checking out my healthcare's website under find a physician, but I wasn't even sure what type of doctor to use.  Then I called the insurance provider number on the back of my health card, and she asked a lot of questions that helped me narrow it down. She explained that I would need a gastroenterologist to do the test, but that there were often doctors in this field that worked with family practice clinics like my own, and they might have a relationship with a certain clinic that offered discounts or maybe were better liked by my circle of providers.  She suggested I call my own family practice doc and ask who they recommended.  Sure enough- there were a couple on the list that they liked.  A few more calls and I had an appt. just 2 weeks out.

The person who made my appointment said the way they were doing colonoscopies lately was changing and that I had an option to do the traditional cleanse which was overnight with a prescribed golytely solution, or I could buy my own prep materials and do it over 2 days using gatorade.  I had seen my husband and a couple other friends do the golytely solution and they complained LOUDLY about how awful it was, so I opted for the gatorade.  I received the directions in the mail a couple of days later and this is very similar to what my own said.  Colonoscopy prep with gatorade  I read on-line that the 2 day prep even does a better job of cleansing so if there are any polyps, the doctor is better able to see them.  If you're going to go through the procedure, why not give him the best conditions?

Although the hardest part was doing without salads and real food for a couple of days, I really didn't think it was too bad. I was hungry and my tummy was grumbling a lot, but generally it was OK.  I didn't think the gatorade tasted bad at all- I used a combination of lemon-lime and orange mixed with the miralax.  If you really use your imagination, it's just a tropical drink!

The day of the procedure, I showed up at 1:30 for a 3:00 start time.  Basically I got dressed in a gown, signed some paperwork, and watched TV until they were ready for me to go to the room where the equipment was.  I met the doctor and asked him how he got into this business.  To my surprise, he said he wanted a job where he could watch TV all day.  Ha!  I guess I thought it was all about butts and he said he only looks at butts for a couple of minutes, but the scan of the colon is on a TV and it's not bad work at all.  Each procedure lasts about 15 minutes.  They gave me some drugs through an IV to relax me but I was awake and watched the whole thing on the TV screen.  You can be put out even more if you want, but I was a bit curious.  Here's a copy of what they showed me.  Everything was normal so now I don't have to go back for 10 more years.  That was very good news!

By 4:30 I was ready to be picked up.  You aren't allowed to drive for the rest of the day.  I had a lot of gas, but they had warned me about this.  They have to inflate the colon to get the scope through and it takes a day or so to get it all out again.  The next day, everything is almost back to normal.  Glad it's over and everything went well.  I'd encourage everyone who needs one to get it scheduled.  

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Still just looking at Harleys

An old friend from the Air Force stopped through Milwaukee today and we met at the Harley Davidson museum.  I still haven't found a harley to ride for my list of 50, but this was a whole lot of fun just looking at them.  This is a great museum, built in 2008, and is currently ranked #2 of attractions in Milwaukee on www.tripadvisor.com. It is 2 floors of motorcycles and stories about the company that will impress you or make you downright patriotic.  How they ever gathered so many unique artifacts, including helmets, oil cans, leather, etc. is amazing to me.  I learned a lot about how the company stayed afloat during recessions, wars, and a changing economy.  I loved that there were some interactive exhibits, and even a children's area.  I brought my grandson along and he loved all the bikes you could climb on.  It was difficult to have a real conversation with my friend, but we did manage to do some catching up on life, while still keeping an eye on Landon who wanted one of everything there.  And who wouldn't?  I still hope to find a harley ride some time in my future.  I am starting to understand the wide appeal.
look at all the gas tank designs
He needs to grow a bit more before he gets a harley of his very own!
how would you like to ride in that outfit?
the first motorcycles were really more like bicycles

even the old advertising is shown






Sunday, October 7, 2012

Spa Day with My Daughter

Today I checked off another from my list of 50- spa day.  Aaaaahhhhh.  I had looked forward to this event but it was hard to schedule since my daughter wanted to do it with me, and we both have kids that need entertaining while we're gone for the day.  I ended up booking us at the only 5 star spa in Wisconsin, Kohler Waters Spa, because who wouldn't be curious about a 5 star spa.  I had never done it so I didn't know what to expect.  Having a massage isn't the same thing as spending a full day at a spa. Let me start by saying, this was very expensive so we had high expectations.  Neither of us were disappointed.
The waterfall pool


View from the roof garden
Spa room at the rooftop

 We were met in the lobby and were served coffee and tea while we got a little briefing about the day.  Then we went downstairs where a polite attendant gave us lockers which contained a robe and sandals to use for the day.  We had 50 minute massages first off, so we changed and went to a waiting room.  It was just a few minutes before our masseuses came to find us.  Guided to individual rooms with dim lighting, soft music, and the smell of essential oils, we basked in relaxation while they tried to work the kinks out.  It was pretty nice.
After the massage, we could enjoy the spa pools- and there were plenty.  Up on the rooftop there was a fireplace with cushions so you could lay in front of the fire and rest or read a book.  We checked out the hot tub for awhile and chatted with some 'spa afficionados' we met.  They were a group of women who go to spas several times a year and they told us how to get the best deals and could compare spas for us.  This was their favorite spa as far as customer service, but they enjoyed Sundara Spa in Wisconsin Dells for the outdoor experience.  Imagine sitting in a hot tub surrounded by snow!  They also thought you could get a better deal by staying at the hotel associated with the spas, as then the spa facilities are open for your use just by being a guest.  Good to know in case we ever do this again.  We tried the steam room, dry sauna, and a couple of other tubs before we showered.  This is Kohler.  They are known for their bath fixtures.  The showers had all the latest showerheads.  Of course all the bath products were there for you to try for free.  Then there was a room full of blow dryers, mirrors, brushes, etc.  Anything you seemed to want was there for you.

The American Club is known for their lovely Sunday brunch.  We headed over there and enjoyed every bite!  The waitress insisted we not leave before we tried the creme brulee french toast.  We were stuffed by the time we finished.
Sunday Brunch at the American Club
So many delectable choices!


At the Kohler Design Center
We had a little time before our pedicures, so we stopped in at the Kohler Design Center.  This is a place you can get ideas for remodeling your bathroom or kitchen.  Everything is so beautiful and they work very hard to help you see how it could look in your own home by adding lots of details.  There is also a museum on the lower floor that explains the history of Kohler.  We were surprised to learn that the American Club was first used to house new immigrants who worked at Kohler in the early days- a sort of dormitory.  It sure has changed in the years since.  The coolest Kohler invention we saw all day?  The toilet shown below.  It has back lighting so you won't need a night light to go potty at night.  There is a remote control (looks like a smart phone) that controls the bidet water flow, temperature, direction, lid up/down.  There is even a fan to dry your bottom!  What a dream!  The sales lady said the opening in the bottom is just the right size so that your phone will never be flushable either.  You have to try all the bathrooms in the Kohler buildings because you just never know what you're going to find!
The fanciest toilet of all- with remote control!
We headed back to the spa for a pedicure that was unlike any other.  You get the heated foot soak, but they also do exfoliation using lime sea salt.  There's a masque for your legs and feet.  They heat up flat stones and place them between your toes- that was really wonderful.  Then you still have the choice of polish and all the nice scrubbing and cleaning you might expect.  Loved this!  They had a special with this that included $50 in Kohler Woodlake shopping bucks, so we even got to do a little shopping before heading home.  It was a great day.  The sun was shining.  Leaves were bursting with yellow and red.  And best of all, I got to share it with my lovely daughter.
Stones collected from Lake Superior heated and placed between the toes