Kids Of All Ages On Frozen Lake Monona

The first time this season James and I ventured onto frozen Lake Monona…WOW–fun!! I only had one lens for the camera so the pics here are not perfect with the light—but if they could smile like my face!! Pictured is an iceboat, the neighborhood as seen from the lake, the Capitol, along with the power of Mother Nature as it pushed at least foot thick slabs of ice about like potato chips on a plate. Be a kid like us in the wintertime, too.

Canada Geese Dance-Like Moves On Lake Monona

A sizable flock of Canada Geese has been sighted over the past several days flying back and forth over the Madison isthmus.  During the holidays a group of honkers landed on a freshly iced part of Lake Monona, not far from the shore at B. B. Clarke Beach.  While pouring another cup of hot coffee I noticed folks were congregating so took my camera and dashed over to the lake.

I post a few photos of the dance-like magic on the ice.  With all the hardships due to the continuing pandemic, these are the type of moments that we can embrace and find uplifting. 

Derek Forbes First Madison African-Amerian Lifeguard Is Honored

This past week I noticed activity taking place at B.B. Clarke Beach.  A truck with rich dark dirt passed our way with what looked like a park bench perched in the back.  Within an hour the city crew had completed their work and the result is an honor for a man worthy of recognition.


Derek Forbes was known for his masonry work throughout the area, but as his family wished to remind all with the placement of the bench, he was also the first African-American lifeguard in Madison.


In 2017 Derek died at the age of 60.

Derek was born in Toronto, Canada, and moved with his family to Madison, Wis., in 1961. He graduated from West High School in 1975, and studied geophysics at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Derek’s love of nature and entrepreneurial spirit began early in his childhood sweeping sidewalks for businesses, managing several paper routes and starting a tree trimming service after an unexpected ice storm. He developed a seafood importing business while living and exploring Alaska; but the greatest gift that he accomplished was taking after his grandfather to become a mason. Derek practiced his trade for over 20 years and was one of the hardest working craftsman we will ever know.


Derek loved kayaking, reading, watching the history channel, adding to his DVD movie collection, and practicing his love of Taekwondo at Paik’s Academy. Derek had the ability to make anyone laugh until they couldn’t breathe.

The bench is placed for the perfect view of Lake Monona, along with a prime location to feel all its moods as winds either gently breeze past, or robustly alert you to the tempest a-coming.


This beach is a treasure with it being the most shallow in our city.  Each summer the larger area is surrounded by a boom that keeps out the algae and impediments to swimming.  With rip-rap added several years ago on the shoreline, and a canoe rack for storage it is easy to see why this beach continues to increase in the number of users.

As a history buff, and for those who also enjoy learning more about Madison history, I found the following in the archives of the Wisconsin State Journal.  From 1944 comes this news story concerning benches at B.B. Clarke Park.


Those benches were removed in 2009 for the new artistic benches made by Erika Koivunen for the Madison Parks Department.  Gary Tipler helped promote the sculptor/artist.  My husband, James, and I saw the underwriting for the five benches that were commissioned.  Henry Dudek has a bench in his honor as does a memorial for Myron Hub, long a regular who cleaned the park each Monday morning.  Other benches are still available for sponsorship of a loved one through the city.

It was decades ago that Derek would have looked out on the lake and felt the summer winds as he did his work as a lifeguard.  The family surely knew what this beach meant to him along with the mood of the water which greeted him each workday.  The bench, therefore, along with its placement seems the most fitting way to honor his life.

I wish to thank the Forbes family for such a generous donation to Madison Parks.



Madison Sunset From Lake Monona

After days of rain and nary a hint of sunset came a reminder of why we always look skyward in our daily life.  This was glorious!  Notice the slice of moon, too.



Do You Need To Pay Property Taxes On An Igloo?

An igloo has been built on Lake Monona and it has occupants.  As seen from our home today.  I love winter!



As Another Winter Storm Waves At Us…..

Temps are in the teens as we prepare for another winter storm all day Tuesday, with 5-7 inches expected.

Meanwhile, this afternoon I took photos of ski sailing taking place on Lake Monona.  The shoreline is roughly 70 footsteps from my front stoop.  I stood just outside my door in stocking feet holding the camera.  It made me aware that whomever is on the lake must be decked out in very warm clothes.

I am pleased with my lens, which is relatively new, which allows for the roof of the coliseum to be visible where Elvis and others have performed over the decades.  The rounded metal top can be viewed at top of second photo.

Meanwhile hunker down, dear readers, Mother Nature is going to pay another wintry call.

Remembering Otis Redding On December 10th

Living less than 70 of my footsteps to the shoreline of Lake Monona means December  10th is always noted.

In 1967 Otis Redding was killed in a plane crash on the ‘lake of the rising sun’.  The plane carrying Redding and his band crashed into icy waters near Madison. Just four miles from their destination at Madison’s Truax Field.


Lake Monona Starts To Freeze Over

Madison’s Lake Monona is starting to freeze. First signs of it today with our flag at half-staff for President Bush.  Like how the light shines through the flag.