This post is part two of two. Read part one here: Summer Throwback Part I: Canada, Michigan & Chicago.

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Last post, I left off in Chicago. After checking out a potential investment property for Kirk (who was back in California), I hopped on the Metra train north to Wisconsin.

MOM & DAD in WISCONSIN

My parents and I went out to dinner at Taylor’s People’s Park, a (relatively) new restaurant occupying a three-story brick building in downtown Waukesha. We dined on the roof.

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I celebrated Fourth of July twice — on the actual 4th in Michigan — then again in Wisconsin because Big Bend held their fireworks show the following weekend.

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Dad taught me how to change the brake pads on his car.

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This book, about a woman terrified of the ocean but determined to join the love of her life crossing it on a sailboat, was a fun read.

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Every time I visit my parents’ house, I try to get rid of some of my old stuff. I still have books, some clothes and a bunch of childhood stuff that my mom has graciously not thrown out — even though it’s been nearly a decade since I moved out. I found my junior year prom dress which I converted into a Halloween costume for my freshman year of college: “Miss California.” Never would have thought that six years later I’d be living there.

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Talking with Kirk on FaceTime.

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CHICAGO, AGAIN.

The 2/2 condo on Greenleaf Ave in Rogers Park had received my blessing. Kirk’s offer was accepted, and he swiftly scheduled an inspection. I made another trip to Chicago to accompany the inspector and take more photos of the place for Kirk.

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I rode the Metra once more. It felt like traveling back in time four years. Riding the Metra and the L rouse up lots of memories from living in Chicago. The rail system there is akin to my beach cruiser in California; both are more important to me than any car has ever been.

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Davis Street platform, Evanston, IL.

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SISTER TIME in EAU CLAIRE

My sister lives ‘up north’ in Eau Claire, four hours from our parents’ house in Waukesha. I took the Greyhound up to visit her for a few days.

She had a things-to-do list just for me.

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Unfortunately Kelly end up feeling sick the first night/next morning I was there, so while she slept, I played her lovely kitty, Robert.

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Soaking up rays.

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Trying to comfort the sick one.

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Kelly perked up by the afternoon, and we went out for a pedicure.

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We drove a few miles further north to Chippewa Falls, home of Leinenkugel Brewery. Chris, Kelly’s boyfriend, joined us.

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The tour guide taught us dozens of historical facts about the brewery. I don’t remember one. What I do remember is how to pronounce Chippewa Falls like a local. It’s not CHIP-eh-wa, like it’s spelled. It’s CHIP-wa, two syllables. Time isn’t wasted on a third.

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I spent just over $25 at the Leine’s gift shop, which entitled me to a free 4-pack of Big Eddy Baltic Porter. Score. The Leinie’s Big Eddy is a line of robust, limited-release beers aimed at the craft beer drinker. (San Diego has turned me into a beer snob, so that was right up my alley.)

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On Friday night, Kirk flew in early from San Diego for a business meeting the following Monday near (of all places!) Milwaukee. He altered his trip to arrive in the Twin Cities, and we picked him up at a rendezvous point in Eau Claire.

Dinner at Stella Blues. Schroeder sisters and significant others.

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100th ANNIVERSARY of the BEHSELICH FAMILY FARM

My dad’s mom, my Grammie, grew up on a farm in Pittsville, Wisconsin. Her grandmother and grandfather (Frederick and Catherine) purchased the original land for the farm in 1913. The farm is still in operation, run by my dad’s cousins.

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Over 400 descendants of Frederick and Catherine attended the party. Biggest family reunion, ever.

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That’s all from the Midwest for now. ☼