Monday, August 30, 2010

big sky

Just a couple of shots from a pretty evening in Madison.


Dave is putting together his research lab at UW-Madison. He's ordered some equipment new, aquired some furniture from his department, but is also tracking down some other smaller items that he needs.

In search of wooden stools and a small AV cart, we headed down to the UW Swap warehouse. The Swap is where old university stuff goes to live until another university faculty or staff member decides to reuse it.

There were aisles and aisles of stuff.

Computers, furniture, filing cabinets, and even these two things. A prize to the first person who can correctly guess what they are!

It didn't take us long to find the cart, but no stools this time. Turns out they're a hot commodity!

Sunday, August 29, 2010

10 things I like about you: Sequoya Commons

10 things we like about you, Sequoya Commons, the building where we live:

10. We like the underground parking now and we'll love it in the winter.
 9. You have a library, coffee shop and ice cream shop downstairs.

 8. Gas stove!
 7. Remote controlled fans...ooh...aah...

 6. The cats love to run and slide on your hardwood floors.
 5. The open floor plan means we can watch tv from the kitchen (Dave's addition to the list).
 4. Minutes to campus, downtown Madison, and down the street from Lake Wingra and Monroe Street.
 3. It's the first time we've had an ice/water dispenser on the fridge!

 2. The key fob makes me feel like I'm in college.

 1. You're just so pretty.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

little switzerland

We wanted to sail this weekend, but the air was completely stagnant. No wind at all! So, after paddling our sailboat back to dock, we decided to scrap the sailing and make a day trip to New Glarus, a small town 25 miles south of Madison.

Why did we choose to drive out to New Glarus, you ask? Well it all goes back to my brother and a beer. 

For our birthdays, my brother Andrew got us a book befitting our move to Wisconsin: 1001 Beers to Taste Before You Die. Before we left NC, I looked up the Wisconsin brews listed in the book and was particularly intrigued by New Glarus Belgian Red that is bottled like wine and tastes like cherries:

We tried it not long after we moved here and it is delicious! So why not go down to tour the brewery and try some more?

Upon googling the brewery, I discovered that New Glarus calls itself "Little Switzerland". It was founded in the nineteenth century by Swiss immigrants and it shows! Take a look:

Actually, the town was kind of kitchy. But the New Glarus Brewery was spectacular! The building is perched on a hill looking out on a valley of farmland.

We did the tour, 

tasted a bunch of great beers,

and even found their cornhole boards out in the beer garden!

All in all, a good day. Cheers!

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Frank is everywhere

I recently finished reading Loving Frank, a historical novel by Nancy Horan about Frank Lloyd Wright and (one of) his lover(s), Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Jen had been recommending this book to me for a long time and I finally came to my senses and picked up a copy. I'll be honest, I've always liked Frank Lloyd Wright's architectural style but didn't know much about it until reading this book. 

I did always think his designs in stained glass were so pretty. Like these:

And I went to the Guggenheim for the first time this year, so I knew he designed the beehive of a building:

But, again, I didn't know much more than those tidbits until we moved to Madison. And now I am obsessed!

So, back to the book. I recommend it, but I think it especially struck a chord with me because a good portion of the book takes place in Spring Green, Wisconsin, a small town about an hour from Madison where Frank Lloyd Wright grew up and later in life, built an estate. The preservation is call Taliesin, multiple tours are offered daily, and Dave is not going to stop hearing me talk about it on a daily basis until we take a drive out there to visit!

So, back to the title of this post: Frank is everywhere. 

My last post was about the Monona Terrace in downtown Madison. Designed by FLW!

Our condo building - definitely inspired by his prairie houses, don't you agree?

And of course my obsession has drawn me to Wikipedia where I discovered that FLW designed a bunch of other buildings in Madison including a house two streets over from us that Dave and I were ogling last week! We could tell there was something different about this house!
Photo by James Steakley

So there you have it. Frank is everywhere around us - even right down the road.

And the book is good. The ending is riveting, but I won't ruin it for you. Stay tuned to see how long it takes Dave to get sick of hearing me talk about FLW and agree to come out to Taliesin with me!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

picnik at the terrace

Tonight Dave and I went on a hunt for a cupcake. We really wanted to try the Daisy Cafe and Cupcakery. We went and sadly they were closed. So, we walked a couple of blocks down the street to Monty's Blue Plate Diner. We thought we remembered seeing a bakery case there and sure enough they had cupcakes. We picked one and then headed to the Monona Terrace to eat our yummy dessert.

I snapped a few pictures at the Terrace with my iPhone (please excuse the graininess):

And then I came home and uploaded them straight to flickr from my iPhone. There's this great little editing program built into flickr called Picnik. I've used it before, but didn't know about the "create" feature until tonight. (Thanks Cass and Susan!)

Now I can do cool things like this...

...and this!

Doesn't this make that boring moonlight picture so much more interesting?!?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

come sail away

Today we learned how to sail this boat...

On this lake!
And we survived to tell the tale despite 20mph wind gusts!

It was a fun and windy day! We had a couple hours of basic sailing lessons yesterday, but had to reschedule the bulk of the lesson to today because there wasn't enough wind. That wasn't an issue today. Wind and tons of it. We stayed out on Lake Wingra for a good five hours. Our instructor from Wingra Boats was great and the lesson culminated with us going out on our own on a butterfly. And tipping it - purposefully! To practice righting it, of course. We're definitely going back out next weekend. Only problem now is that as I'm sitting here on the couch, my inner ear is telling me I'm still floating...and there are only a few weekends of summer left.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Torrential downpours, tornado warnings, and thunder and lightning all afternoon. And then this happened: the biggest, brightest, and most beautiful rainbow I've ever seen - right outside our window.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

lunchin' it

Since neither of us are getting paid yet (we'll start working soon!) but we still want to explore our new city (and it's gastronomical delights) we've been finding affordable ways to eat out every so often. Since we both have flexible schedules, one way we've been able to do this is lunch. We've had lunch at two fun places this week. 

First was Ella's Deli on the east side. It's a kosher deli with a huge menu, and even more huge ice cream sundae menu and an extraordinary collection of mechanical "toys" all around the restaurant. 

This photo does not do it justice. But it's crazy in there and super loud from all the little machines moving stuff around!

Some of the things in there were just plain bizarre. Like these feet with faces that said "This Little Piggy" above them.

There's also a 1927 carousel outside that you can ride. Pretty crazy place!

The second lunch spot we hit up this week was the Babcock Hall Dairy Store. This is the retail store for the campus dairy at UW-Madison. At the dairy store they sell the milk, cheese, sour cream, ice cream, etc. that students make, but it's also a little lunch counter with sandwiches and a special each day. I had taco salad (purely a vehicle for the cheese and sour cream) and Dave had a ham sandwich (again, a vehicle for the slice of muenster cheese with chive). Delicious! And of course we had to get a scoop to go!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

my favorite place in Madison

I know, I know, we've only lived here a less than a week so how can I know where my favorite place is? Well, the student union at UW-Madison is a true gem. And we've discovered that the Memorial Union Terrace at the Wisconsin Union is the place to be on a summer's night.

The Terrace is right there on the shore of beautiful Lake Mendota where you can swim, boat, or walk along the Lakeshore Path. Or, just plunk yourself down on one of the brightly colored terrace chairs to watch the people and the water.

You can see what's happening at the Union Terrace now via webcam!

The beer selection is plentiful and all local. If you're hungry, you can visit the brat stand, the pizza stand, or the ice cream stand where they're scooping ice cream made at the campus dairy.

All summer long there's live music on the Terrace, but really that's just the icing on the cake (or the mustard on the brat?). This is just a gorgeous and fun place to hang out and enjoy the weather, the view, and the people-watching!

We spent the better part of both Friday and Saturday night there this weekend. It's hard not to gravitate down to the Terrace on a pretty summer night. At least until the students come back! 

Friday, August 6, 2010

little condo on the prairie

You remember the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder. Little House in the Big Woods is the first in the series when Laura's family leaves the big woods of Wisconsin to travel to the prairie of Kansas where Little House on the Prairie takes place. Even though Wilder wrote about the prairie in Kansas in the 19th century, Wisconsin has its fair share of prairie land and modern Madison does too.

On a walk around our neighborhood today, I bumped into lots of little prairies - some people even use prairie land as an inspiration for their front yard gardens. I didn't take any photos of people's yards, but I did take a few shots of some of the public spaces that are prairies. Very pretty!

Dudgeon-Monroe Prairie

Welcome sign for Westmorland neighborhood

Volunteer-maintained prairie near Glenway golf course and the bike path

Meadow in the Westmorland Park

It's just a quick walk up the hill past Westmorland Park and I'm home! 
Sequoya Commons, our condo building