Badger Pride

This past weekend, I flew to Madison, Wisconsin to visit my cousin A.

A is the youngest of the cousins on my mom’s side of the family. I remember getting a call from my mom (who was present at her birth) on the day she was born. Despite being 8 years older and living on opposite coasts, she has come to be more like a sister to me. A reminds me to not take life so seriously sometimes, to treasure my friendships, to smile widely and laugh often, and to love with all my heart. I truly relish the fleeting time that we get to spend with one another.

Our family was pretty surprised (and proud!) when this southern CA girl decided to make Madison her home for college. My college experience was very intimate with only 2,300 students on the Barnard campus and I’ve been eager to see what life is like in Madison. The University of Wisconsin at Madison is home to the Badgers – the school’s immensely popular and successful football team. October seemed like a good time of year to see A, catch a heated game between UW and Minnesota, and try cheese curds (FYI – cheese curds are tasty little morsels when fried but will feel like lead pellets in your gut later).

Airplane goodies? Check!

Having your red gear is a MUST

Bascom Hall after a trek up Bascom Hill. It was quite the climb

Babcock Hall is where a lot of agricultural research takes place. More importantly, they also make ice cream here.

Lake Mendota on a cloudy morning

Displaying one’s Badger pride is very important. Note that those are W’s not M’s.

Camp Randall – aka where the football stadium resides

Kickoff

A sea of red in the student section

All smiles after UW won 38-13

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Milestones

Yesterday, my father would have been 80.

I was at work at the hospital until 9:30p and almost forgot about the meaning behind October 3rd until I was caring for a patient with a new cancer diagnosis.

In nursing, though, the hectic pace of the day tends to leave little room for thought about the rest of life and I was glad to be busy.

I had never really thought of my dad as “old” until he was ill with cancer and it made him look hollowed out and lifeless. Maybe, I would have thought him “old” at 80 but his death in 2009 robbed me of the opportunity to see him as he would have been now. I can barely remember the sound of his voice at times. Photographs help but frustrate me with their two dimensions. The memory is a funny thing. When the moth of time has begun eating away at the facts and details of a memory, the imagination fills in the holes to create a slightly different version of the reality that was there before. While memories are comforting and it may have been better to have loved and lost than to never have loved at all, nothing compares to the real thing.

Dad at the Trinidad airport in 2005.

Dad, in remission from cancer, at my cousin’s wedding in Grafton, Wisconsin in 2008.