Mala Vida Cumbiastyle

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Sunday, June 19 – Street Festival energy finally tapered on this Father’s Day Sunday. We saw the reservation book go up and down all day, and ended up with a more mellow number than the usual Sunday. The fact that this occurred on Father’s Day, however, let us be extra attentive to all our guests, especially families celebrating.

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Shout out: Lynnea who brought me an inspirational poem / thank you card today, it meant a lot.

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Tom Skilling says… in sync with summer’s official open, hot temps and stormy weather ahead!

Robot Del Rancho

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Saturday, June 18 – Randolph Street Fest continues, with today bringing us a few sun-touched guests who needed to be cut off in the first turn, and those “festival vibes” permeating through the shift. The servers and bartenders put on a brave face and offered our guests the best possible Lena experiences.

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Mood Scale: Huge kudos to Lanie and Leslie for the implementation of the Lena birthday card: not only is this a beautiful beginning to a celebratory meal at Lena, it also communicates to the entire staff, including support and other servers, that a celebration is happening, allowing us all to partake. Today and going forward, I see this having a big effect on our birthday guests moods. Excellent idea AND execution!

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Shout out: Allie, at table 46- awesome table with a lot of bottles of wine and big ticket items, the host pulled Leslie aside and gave Allie amazing compliments.

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MVP: Kelly, for her calming energy even when “festival guests” have partied too hard.

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Tom Skilling says… keep your father in the shade, sun burn threats this Sunday!

Crank that Cumbia

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Friday, June 17 – Friday with a very different feel than what we have become used to: the Randolph street festival mellowed out walk-in business allowing us to focus extra attention on the guests, and deliver our best Lena experiences.

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Mood Scale: Lynnea had a table of 5 at 36 who she felt needed a jolt of energy to pick up their mood scale. I am not usually one to have a back pocket joke on hand – but this week I have a really good one about a parrot and the origin of the phrase “saying uncle.” In this case, with these guests, it actually worked – I got them laughing and their mood number got a lift! Please do not ask me for repeat performance.

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Shout out: Francisco and Ronnie, for rocking the new polisher / stocker configuration, in a successful trial run!

Tudei

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Wednesday, June 15 – Big Wednesday, picked right up where last night left off, beginning with an 8-top in LB2 and many special guests. Tonight our (many unannounced) special guests pushed the reservation book a little more, and yet working as a team we were able to ensure no guest left behind.

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MVP: Mayra, runner for the cold side, for her knowledge, persistence, communication, and positive attitude. Mayra is real asset to the team!

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Tom Skilling says… heat and humidity to ease up, at least for now.

Cinco de Milkshake

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Tuesday, June 14 – Mood Scale: We had the unfortunate scenario of a guest with a disability needing to use the washroom after the elevator had shutdown. Todd immediately let us know and I met them at the elevator door (it had been working the first time this guest used the washroom). The guest and I walked over to the Grange Burger Bar, and kept up an ongoing conversation on the way there and back. We comped a round of drinks as they were too tired for desserts, as a way of apology. What could have been unpleasant and awkward was much ameliorated because we had a plan.

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Shout out: Bo Fowler, who remembered interviewing me 6 years ago! She said I was a young man, and now I am seasoned.

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Tom Skilling says… warmth and higher humidity help fuel periodic thunderstorm clusters over coming days, but interspersed…

La Cumbia Vegetariana

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Sunday, June 12 – Mood Scale: In LB2, we had a small cocktail spill that impacted tables 72 and 73, both of which were parties of 2. We took care of the drinks for these guests, “flipped the switch” and went on a charm offensive, with all staff paying extra special attention to these 2 tables until the end of their meal. They left this note, “Please know that we know we are all human and make mistakes. Service was great. We loved our experience!”

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Tom Skilling says… temperatures to rebound into the upper 80’s Monday.

Ni

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June 11 – Big Saturday with big heat. In today’s pre-shift meeting we went over end of night standards – making sure the room is immaculate and no candles blown out until last guest leaves. Big thanks to Leslie, Jeff, Lanie, and the hosts for helping make sure that was the case tonight!

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Tom Skilling says… cooler much less humid air spreads over Chicago.

The Angus

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I love to drive up to Wisconsin whenever I get the chance, even if it’s just for one night. But when it’s just for one night, that puts extra pressure on the decision of where to go out to eat. There is only one chance to get it right.

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Wisconsin as a state “gets it right” from the jump with many of the state laws supporting locally grown and raised agriculture. The tradition of grown and raised in Wisconsin extends from the blanket of farms covering the state to the old school supper clubs that act like a hub for small communities. After eating even the best of what’s available in Chicago, Wisconsin grown and raised meat, vegetables and dairy are a welcome change of pace.

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The Angus has got to be my new favorite supper club in Prairie du Chien area. This old school supper club has several unique features, such as the island-shaped bar, and the cooking station in the dining. Don’t forget about the salad bar with so many delicious options, like the cheeseburger soup of the day.

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My girlfriend ordered the beer battered cheese curds, her second cheese curds in 24 hour period, putting her at risk for curditis (but how could you resist – The Angus cheese curds are crazy good.) In the end, however, it’s all about the steak, and that’s where The Angus smashed it out. Now I know how they got the name.

Effigy Mounds

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An effigy mound is a raised pile of earth built in the shape of a stylized animal, symbol, human, or other figure and generally containing one or more human burials. Effigy mounds were primarily built during the Late Woodland Period (350-1300 CE (current era)). Conical and linear mounds, the predecessors of effigy mounds may date from as far back as 700 BCE (before the current era). They remain places First Peoples frequent to visit and speak with ancestors, to put down tobacco and to give thanks.

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The Ho-Chunk suggest that effigy mounds were used as places of refuge as well as burial. Some archaeologists today believe that the mounds were built by particular clans or groups to honor their representative animal. Some believe that the animal shape is the clan or extended family of the person or person’s buried in the mound. Others believe that the mounds were burial sites for everyday people, while still others believe that the depicted animal might be somehow responsible for transitioning the deceased into the next world. The mounds may also indicate hunting and gathering territories of different groups. Other evidence suggests that effigy mounds were used for all manner of rites and ceremonies, from birth ceremonies to funeral rites.

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Common shapes for effigy mounds include birds, bear, deer, bison, lynx, panther, turtles, and water spirits. These are somewhat arbitrary names given to the mound shapes by archaeologists who were simply looking for words that would help them classify the mounds. These shapes were most likely chosen for their particular religious or spiritual significance. The earliest mounds are ‘conical’; they are essentially bumps of earth – the simplest and arguably the most intuitive kind of burial. Successive conicals likely evolved into linear mounds. Bird mounds likely came next as modifying a linear mound to make a bird mound required only the addition of a head and a tail. From there many different animal forms emerged. These often expressed a kind of abstract elongation.

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In addition to the obvious elongation of tails and the abstracted nature of many of the shapes, colored silts and sand were often used to decorate the mounds. The land was often scraped or raked to move earth from surface soils towards a new mound and in doing so, artful colored sand and silt patterning was sometimes employed as adornment. In terms of positioning, some mounds may have had celestial alignments although with certainty bird mounds were placed in such a way as to suggest that they were flying up or down a hillside, and animal mounds were often placed so as to suggest animals walking along natural landform as well such as a ridge or hillside. It is possible that predominant wind patterns may have been taken into consideration when choosing locations and orientations for bird mounds. In addition bird mounds sometimes appear in different conformations where the wings of the bird may be folded or unfolded to different degrees, suggesting various postures in flying. There are some instances where these different poses may suggest a freeze frame view of a bird flying – wings outstretched, wings partially folded, and wings outstretched again.

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Hochunk ancestors naturally buried their dead next to lakes and rivers, and on hillsides. These locations would later become valued as some of the best places to live by settlers. This is one factor that contributed to high rates of mound destruction. Many mounds were destroyed by people grading earth surrounding their houses or what would become the foundations of houses. In some cases linear mounds were used as foundational fill for new house construction. Looting of mounds by settlers was common and this also contributed to the destruction and defacement of many.[2]

-taken from wikipedia’s entry on effigy mounds.

Geology

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The sedimentary rocks of the bluffs are much older than the Ice Age valley.

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They were deposited under ancient seas which covered this area over 450 million years ago.

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Remains of shellfish which lived in these waters became fossils as the layers slowly turned to stone.

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