Monday, May 04, 2009

2009 WPA Convention

As always, the Wisconsin Parent's Association home-schooling conference was informative and useful. I came home last night with lots of good ideas and, most importantly, a fresh outlook and attitude. I now more think of this annual weekend as a cheerleading session than a chance to learn things (which happens too). It's nice to know that there are others like Joe and me out there and even though I logically know they exist and run into them in the cyber world, it's a comfort to talk, face-to-face, with those in the same boat we are and share ideas and frustrations.

The weekend was so much more than just a home-schooling conference though. Each year we're lucky enough to have my in-laws take the kids for the weekend and Joe and I are able to have two and a half days and two whole nights totally on our own. The only unfortunate factor in all this is that we have a weekend alone in Oshkosh, Wisconsin versus, say, Chicago, or even Milwaukee.

I don't mean to knock Oshkosh. It's a fine place and certainly offers enough amenities for me to appreciate but, still, seeing the city always makes me sort of sad. Over the past few years we've seen truly unique and fine establishments (fine in their own right, not relative to the chain restaurants and hotels surrounding them) wither and slowly die until they eventually hang it up. It seems the entire downtown is a sea of "for lease" and "for sale" signs or, worse yet, just emptiness. Life in this city seems to exist almost solely near the outlet mall and aviation museum near the highway and that corridor offers little in the way of the unique.

We did, however, discover one little gem thanks to Nina over at The Other Side of the Ocean. "Didn't Nina blog about chocolate shops in the Fox Valley?" I asked Joe Sunday morning. He agreed she had, though neither of us could remember when. Google found the post quickly though and soon enough we were off to Oaks Candy Corner. We arrived before opening, however, and drove down to the marina instead and walked along the breakwater out into Lake Winnebago for about forty-five minutes while we waited. (The other Oshkosh candy shop mentioned in Nina's post-- Hughes Home Maid-- is closed on Sundays, apparently). Oaks Candy Corner's chocolates proved to be worth the wait and we were happy to leave laden with chocolate for ourselves and also as a thank-you gift for Joe's parents.

We arrived home last night around 4 p.m. after a relaxing drive home (with the kids) and I am still basking in the enjoyableness of the weekend.

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