Thursday, September 30, 2010

this is getting ridiculous!

Moving  across the country wasn't too destructive on all our worldly possessions. A couple drinking glasses broken, a cracked piece of pottery, but all in all, everything was ok. For the first couple weeks at least... 

About three weeks into living in our new town, the tv started acting funny, and then was definitely on the fritz. We brought it to a repair shop and sure enough, it was a goner. The LCD panel was cracked, and there was nothing they could do.

So we moved our little 19 inch tv into the living room, which was fine for a while, but now that football season is in full swing, this is getting ridiculous!
So we're on the hunt for a new tv. One that's big enough to see the score from the couch! If you hear about any big sales, let us know!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Bells in Madison (part 1)

We had more guests this weekend! Dave's parents came to visit from Brasstown, NC. Since this was their first trip to the Mad-City, we had to show them our favorite sites first before venturing out to new places.

Of course we hit up the Memorial Union Terrace almost immediately after their arrival...

...then strolled down State Street to find a bite to eat.

The Farmers Market and Wisconsin State Capitol were more must-sees!

Yup, I carried that huge bouquet up to the Capitol observation deck and all around the city with me the rest of the afternoon. I saw the flowers at the market and couldn't resist!

Monday, September 27, 2010

up on the roof...

...of the Wisconsin state capitol!

We had never been up to the observation deck until this weekend.
Up we went and here's what we saw.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

our first visitor! (part 3)

On Sunday, Mom, Dave, and I went back to lovely Spring Green, WI; this time to visit Taliesin, the Wisconsin summer home of Frank Lloyd Wright and site of many of the events in the book Loving Frank that I blogged about here.

Taliesin means "shining brow" and the home reflects this as it's built coming out from the hillside rather than on top of the hill.

FLW saw Taliesin as his laboratory. He experimented with new architectural techniques there and many apprentices lived and worked on the grounds.

Wright saw music and poetry in his design. Here's his Muse of Architecture statue in one of the Taliesin courtyards. The statue is also called Flower in a crannied wall and has the Alfred Lord Tennyson poem of the same name carved on the back.

There's the poem on her back. And a chord progression. So music, art, architecture and poetry all in one.
More music around Taliesin - here's windows in diminution - the red framed window panes - whole notes/half notes/quarter notes.
So beautiful! Sorry I can't show you inside the house - no photos allowed!

Thanks, Mom and Dave for indulging me! Taliesin was all I'd hoped for and more. Another fascinating note: many people - architects and caretakers - still live there. We bumped into a couple on the tour - some of them quite old and we guessed probably knew and worked with FLW themselves. 

I can't wait to go back! And I've already started another FLW historical fiction called The Women. The obsession continues!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

our first visitor! (part 2)

Next up on our sight-seeing adventure with Mom? The House on the Rock.

I'm not sure how to describe this to's a house built on on top of a pinnacle rock, but it's oh so much more.

An eccentric man built this house to spite Frank Lloyd Wright's estate down the road. A lot of the architectureal elements parody FLW's, so the house itself is interesting. But then, after you tour the interior of the house and even get to walk out into the "infinity room" jutting out into the valley,

things get even weirder...

"What was that?!?", you ask? Oh, that was the world's largest carousel with zero horses on it - all different creatures, but no horses. The hourses were nailed up on the wall behind us. (!)

"And what is that?"
Oh, that's the life-sized statue of a whale being attacked by a giant octopus, of course!

We're blurry, but at least you can see how huge this whale/octopus statue thing is!
"And what the heck is that?!?"
Oh, that's just one of, like, 50 room-sized music machines scattered throughout the house. They give you tokens at the beginning of the tour so you can activate the machines.

Blurry again - the place was so dark - but you can see Dave and me trying to figure out what the heck we're looking at!
The House on the Rock is really indescribable. Just picture more and more rooms and huge collections of off-the-wall items. HOTR is a sight to behold and probably the craziest place I've ever been.

I did get one pretty shot. This is in the women's restroom. This shows a fraction of the collection of blue and yellow glassware.

Stay tuned for part 3 of "our fist visitor", when we tour another famous house right down the road from House on the Rock.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

our first visitor! (part 1)

This weekend my Mom came to visit us in Madison! We had a great time and did a lot together while she was here.

Our first sight-seeing stop when she arrived? The National Mustard Museum in Middleton, of course!

The museum had mustards from around the world!

And you could taste all the mustard your heart desired...

...or get a degree in mustard-ology!

We had to take some home!

This place really cuts the mustard!

Friday, September 17, 2010


My brother Andy is a fantastic photographer. He's in school for photography and one cool thing about that is the instructors challenge him to break from the mold and try new things. No offense to all the live music/jam band shots (I know, I know, they're your bread and butter, Andrew), but for this adoring fan, I like to see more variety!

This week Andrew completed his first concept series - an ordered series of photos presenting one unified concept, rather than one individual photo standing on its own.

Check out "Insomnia" here

I don't want to ruin your first viewing with my thoughts, but I'm curious to hear what you think of it!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

my kind of town

One great perk of moving to the Midwest is being close to Chicago. Chicago's a great city, but it's also home to some great friends. A few Saturdays ago, Dave and I made the trip from Madison down to Chicago. (Yes, it is weird for me to say we headed SOUTH to Chicago!)

It's a cheap and painless trip on the Metra train line. We picked up the train at the end of the line, which is in the little town of Harvard, Illinois. Harvard is a little less than an hour and a half drive from Madison. The train ride to Chicago was fun and only took a couple of hours. It delivered us right downtown to our good friends, Jen and Drew.

Here we are before the architecture tour of Chicago - by boat!

Obviously, I ganked this picture from the "Shoreline Cruises" website. Drew is the only person tall enough to be affected by the "proof" watermark. Sorry, Drew!

That night we had a delicious dinner in Old Town where we met up with Beth and Ross. The six of us then headed next door for the late show at Second City. It was a blast. I loved it. So much talent. I want to go back!

Before training it home on Sunday, we hit up the Bucktown Arts Festival. This was the art festival to end all art festivals. I could have burned a big hole in my pocketbook at that place! But I resisted. I'm saving up for next year's festival now!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

tar heels in ATL

We've been lucky to get some fun travel in this fall! One trip was down to Atlanta for the the UNC football season opener.

Thanks to Andrew Phillips, we had plans in place about a year in advance for the game against LSU. I remember Andrew making hotel room reservations back when we didn't know where we would be moving yet!

We had a great time. Jim and Billie went out of their way to pick us up at the airport (thank you!) which was great because that meant we got to spend some time with them before the game. I failed to snag a picture, but we had a fun time brunching at the Landmark Diner and then walking around the city. After brunch and some sight-seeing we met up with the crew for some tailgating and then the game.

It was so great to see everybody!

Oh, and a big shout-out to Babs - the local place where we had brunch on Sunday before heading to the airport. Next time you are in Atlanta, go here!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

go badgers

Saturday was the first home football game of the season for UW-Madison. Dave and I didn't have tickets, but figured if we couldn't buy any at the stadium, we would at least be able to enjoy the game day excitement around Camp Randall.

We walked from our apartment along the bike path, thinking we were so smart to use the bike path instead of the sidewalks. Well, great minds think alike and a lot of folks had that same idea, too. It was a parade of red all the way to the stadium.

The atmosphere before we even got in was a lot of fun. Tons of people, tons of parties and great fall weather. It turned out there were still some tickets available so we got in! We finally made it to our seats in the upper deck and here was our view.

I thought the seats were great. I like the birds-eye view of the field and plus we could see two lakes - Monona and Mendota - from up there! The student section finally filled in - 6 whole sections - J through P!
The Badgers won and we enjoyed a very Wisconsin-y lunch of brats with spicy mustard. Here we are (brats not pictured).

Monday, September 13, 2010

making our old chairs new

If you've been to our house, you might recognize these chairs.
They are our extra chairs when we want to seat more than four people around the kitchen table. Or we put a blanket on the seat near a sunny window for the cats. Or they served as luggage rack in the guest room. The chairs are hand-me-downs from Dave's grandparents and have served us well over the last few years, but they looked a little beat up and needed some tlc. So...I decided to paint and reupholster both chairs this weekend.

I'd been searching for fabric for the chair seats and found some blue and white fabric that I loved. So the plan was, blue and white fabric cushions and white painted wood.

That is until I found some brown and green fabric that mimicked part of the graphic pattern from our rug!

Not only did the fabric go great with the rug, but I found it in the remnants section of the fabric store and scored all the fabric I needed for under $3!

Here's the fabric with the primer, paint, and poly I used.

And here's the fininshed product. What do you think?
I'm still getting used to them. The light sage green paint is pretty funky. But our apartment needed some color, so we got it!

Here's the before and after side-by-side. I think I like them!

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

sweet endings

And we ended our Labor Day with a cherry pie! I used cherry raspberry pie filling from Wienke's Market in Wisconsin. The cherries are from Door County. You may already know this, but it's news to me that Door County is on Wisconsin's penninsula that sticks out into Lake Michigan. From what I can tell from pictures online, Door County looks a lot like the northern New England coast. I'm dying to go. But for now, I'll just eat a slice of Door County cherry pie.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Picnic Point hike

We started off our Labor Day with a hike on the Lakeshore Path out to Picnic Point.  The Lakeshore Path runs along and around the shore of Lake Mendota and is a nature preserve owned by the University. The University also maintains a great website for the preserve with with a very cool interactive map.

Here are some shots from our hike!