Despite the fact that three people asked after me by text and Twitter, I was not at WisCON. Perhaps one of my many dopplegangers were, however. Being a short, pudgy, butching-looking woman whose con-wear consists of jeans, shirt and vest (and sometimes tie) makes for a lot of confusion, particularly at WisCON, the Feminist Science Fiction Convention.
Instead, I went to my hometown of LaCrosse, Wisconsin.
Some things I'll bet you didn't know about LaCrosse. It is the home of the World's Largest Six-Pack. The six-pack is actually a beer aging vat, so it is, in fact, full of beer. http://www.atlasobscura.com/places/world-s-largest-six-pack
LaCrosse has always been a brewing town and one of the reasons that I hate beer to this day is that the sickly, over-powering smell of hops is the smell of a hot, muggy summer day to me.
Also, LaCrosse is part of the "Driftless Zone," a geographically unique part of the United States defined by the fact that it has several odd rock formations carved and/or deposited during the first ice age, and was missed by the second ice age, whose glaciers flattened the Great Plains. So, even though I grew up in the Midwest, which people typically think of as flat, I was surrounded by sandstone bluffs (mini-mountains, people tell me they're akin to foothills), swamps, and deep river valleys: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Driftless_Area#Wisconsin
Here's the view on an overcast/rainy day from the top of Granddad's Bluff looking out toward a nearby bluff. On a clear day, you can see three states (Minnesota [across the river], Wisconsin [of course], and Iowa [just to the south].)
My father tells me there's going to be a documentary about the Driftless Area on some National Geographic type show, and one of the things he learned when listening to people discuss this is that the Driftless Area supposedly has as much biodiversity as the Rainforest. This does not surprise me in the least. More often than not, the hatching of the mayflies in LaCrosse is VISIBLE BY DOPPLER RADAR.
Great Blue Herons are such a common sight, we caught this picture of one on our traditional hike through the RABBIT (River and Bluff Bicentennial Intra-City Trail) trail:
Because a swampy marshland seperates the North Side from the South Side of town, my North Side high school's mascot was "Swampy" a red-and-white faux fur swamp monster whom I regularly portrayed at football games and school rallies.
Yes, that's right, I was was a high school mascot.
Oh, and another last bit of trivia: supposedly there's a Native American legend about LaCrosse (which was supposedly named for the games the Voyageurs saw the American Indians playing that reminded them of LaCrosse) that where three rivers meet there will never be a tornado. We have three rivers that converge in LaCrosse (the Black, the LaCrosse, and the Mississippi Rivers). That was all good until about two years ago, when my dad was in the hospital and a tornado jumped right over Gunderson Clinic (which we were in at the time) and tore a path through the South Side. People didn't want to call it a tornado, but I actually saw the debris field.
If you can't tell, I adore the town I grew up in. It was ultimately too small for me, but if my partner weren't the State Archivist of MINNESOTA, I would seriously consider returning there once Mason was finished with school.
One family tradition we have at every visit is "porch time." We often combine "porch time" with "talking smart," but here's Mason engaged in reading on the "veranda" (which was also jokingly call the lovely three-season porch my folks have in the house I grew up in [built in 1890-something, I believe. It has an open staircase, among other things...])
Here's Mason participating in another LaCrosse tradition: rocket ballons--
My folks and Mason at the top of Granddad's Bluff (on the way to check out the new observation area.)
Mason and me investigating a hollowed out, collapsed tree on the Marsh (RABBIT) trail:
I hear I missed a good WisCON, but I had a great deal of fun catching up with my folks.