Friday, October 31, 2008

Who Could Ask for Anything More?!

We're having a few days of perfect weather.

The temperature has risen steadily, today it's in the upper 60's, and it's been clear and lovely. At night, it's a bit cold without the cloud cover, but the stars are so brilliant it's hard to complain.
It's been cold and blustery. The wind has blown most of the leaves off the trees. The trees that were left still had green leaves on them. Finally we had a frost and now, the remaining leaves are turning color!
It's quite glorious to see. There isn't much orange, but LOTS of bright yellow, and some red. Most of the red color is coming from the bushes.

Turning Bush

on the other side, becomes

Burning Bush

All over town you can see this vivid crimson and brilliant yellow color scheme. It's really Beautiful against the blue sky.
Goodbye October, Hello November.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Breaking Dawn

Reading the Twilight Series has been a love/hate relationship for me. I began reading Twilight a year ago. Emma, my goddaughter, then 12, had received the trilogy for her birthday and I like reading books the same time she does. I was quite surprised by the book, thought the concepts interesting, and it was a page turner! I had to keep reminding myself that this WAS written for a Young Adult audience, as the characters angst over things drained me a bit.

The year previous, my sister and I were on vacation and she was reading New Moon, with her daughter. She was up till all hours reading, so I figured the book was pretty interesting. New Moon was harder for me to get through than Twilight was. Again, that teenage angst is not something I relate to, as it is so far in my past as to be forgettable, and I have no children to remind me.

I pushed on to book three, Eclipse, because I can't stand not knowing how something turns out.Reading Eclipse turned into a struggle for me. There seemed little to admire in the characters, a lot of whining and faulty logic displayed. The story had turned dark and it made me uncomfortable. But I pressed on, because I thought it was a trilogy and I wanted it to end!! When I finally got to the end, and realized I'd been set up for another book, I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.

So, I waited for my turn to read the newly released Breaking Dawn.I was 457 on the waiting list in the Madison Library system, but it went by pretty fast. The day I picked up the book, I read 100 pages. The next day I read 150 pages and was still only barely over a quarter into the book. Very quickly I found myself in the same dilemma with this book. I want to know what happens, but reading it is painful. I only have 100 pages or so to go, and I'm dreading finding that this may not be the conclusion. I don't think I can read another of this series.

Oh the other hand, my goddaughter, now 13, loves these books. She is at that age where you Love to Scare yourself! She and her friends are into horror films. I remember that. Being scared made me feel alive (at 13, I didn't know about adrenalin) and I liked to scream. It's very cleansing, screaming. Gets all sorts of stuff out of your system. But I'm not 13 anymore. I know lots better ways to feel alive, I really don't like adrenalin rushes, and these constant reminders of the pain of growing into an interesting person are something I can do without. So it there IS another book about Bella and friends, I'll give it a miss.

That said, I do admire the author, Stephenie Meyer. She is prolific! I've been writing for 25 years, and still have nothing to show for it. Stephenie may not be a great writer, but she is disciplined enough to keep churning it out!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

The Nose Knows....

The first winter we were in Wisconsin, I caught a cold that settled in my Left Nostril. It wouldn't heal, despite many trips to the Doctor, and several regimes of Antibiotics. Eventually I learned to live with blowing my nose every 15 minutes and often joked about buying stock in the Tissue company.

Last winter, I caught a cold that affected my Right Nostril the same way. The downside of this was that I lost my sense of smell, and when both nostrils clog up at the same time I get claustrophobic. Now I REALLY go through the tissues!

I've tried every "natural" treatment available. They work to a point, then I'm back at the same old place where I can't breath and have to blow my nose continually. The Ear/Nose/Throat doctor wants to do surgery, but I'm leaving that as the very last possible scenario. Meanwhile, I'm tired of taking so many things, and quit all treatments.
Animations - faces 030Today, my nose worked for about 6 hours!!! I've been afraid that my sense of smell may be gone permanently. It was really hard to miss the smells of Spring, and now I've missed the smells of Fall. I work in a kitchen, and have become resigned to not smelling the many odors available all around me. Of course, not smelling means not tasting either. I eat, but it's not enjoyable, as nothing stands out from anything else. I've been eating much spicier food, because the heat is at least a sensation.

Then today, I noticed that I could smell the cilantro I was chopping. It was heavenly. Then I could smell a chicken dish cooking in the oven. I could identify the herbs used in the recipe and the bacon that was coiled around the individual servings. My mouth began watering. Walking by the bins where we throw the used towels (dozens and dozens every day) I could smell the sour, wet smell of them. So, not all the smells were pleasant, but it was so novel to smell ANYTHING!
By the end of my shift, I was back to not smelling. I have no idea what was different. Why it worked. If I did, I'd repeat the process. But now I have hope. If I could smell for 6 hours, then my nose and sense of smell aren't dead. I'll find the way to heal this, once and for all!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Madison Symphony Orchestra

We bought season tickets to the Madison Symphony Orchestra. Sunday is our second performance and I'm really looking forward to it.

This week we'll be seeing cellist, Alban Gerhard, one of the most sought-after European cellists, playing the Edward Elgar Concerto for Cello and Orchestra in E minor, Op.85. I've read it's not just one of the most important cello concertos; it's also a great audience favorite because of its delicacy and melancholic beauty.

Actually, I know I'll enjoy it because I went to the dress rehearsal on Thursday and got a taste of what's to come. The anticipation is thrilling me.

The Symphony plays in the Overture Center for the Arts, a wonderful venue.Overture Hall | Overture Center for the Arts | Madison, Wisconsin
The 2,251-seat performance hall is designed and constructed for exceptional acoustics and an intimate theater experience. As a result, the hall delivers rich, true sound throughout, reaching even to the back balcony.
Our seats are not quite the back balcony, but close. It's all we could afford this time, and I'm just happy to be able to attend. So far, it's been a wonderful investment!

This performance features the Overture Concert Organ, on Gustav Holst's The Planets, Suite for Large Orchestra, Op. 32The dedicated concert organ has handmade tin pipes, gold leaf accents and wave design. It was commissioned from the century-old firm of Orgelbau Klais Bonn, in Germany. This will be the second time we're heard the organ.

I think this calls for champagne, before the performance!

Sunday, October 12, 2008

All Roads lead to the Capitol

What better way to spend a beautiful day than on the Observation Deck at the State Capitol Building taking in the views. The Capitol is located on an isthmus between two lakes. See map here: Madison, WI

Four major roads lead into the block housing the Capitol. I've written about this block in several blog entries (Art Fair, Farmer's Market.) Today I took pictures of these streets because they look so beautiful in their Fall Colors.

This is West Washington

This is Wisconsin Avenue, looking into Lake Mendota.

This is East Washington, the road we drive to get to the Capitol. It's great because we're looking at the Capitol getting bigger the whole trip!

Martin Luther King, Jr. Boulevard empties onto Monona Terrace which overlooks Lake Monona. It is a marvelous area, and I'll post pictures from there another day.

The four major roads are intersected by a number of other, secondary, roads that form angles to the main arteries. State Street is the most famous of these roads, as it is a Main Artery of the community. It has just undergone a rather impressive face lift and we're all glad the construction is nearly at an end. There is no traffic on State, other than buses and Police and Emergency vehicles. It is the major route between the Capitol and the UW Campus.

It is full of trendy shops and interesting restaurants, which now all have outdoor seating thanks to the makeover of State Street! We spend hours wandering this area and always find something new to look at, eat, or think about.

The most scenic road coming in to the Capitol area is John Nolen Drive, which follows Lake Monona and provides many beautiful views of the area.

The pictures, wonderful as they are, don't do it justice. You really, truly should come see it for yourself. We'll be happy to show you around!

Friday, October 10, 2008


We saw the movie RELIGULOUS this week. I can't say I enjoyed it. To enjoy it would mean it was a pleasant experience. It wasn't, not exactly. I laughed, but in addition to being amused, I was appalled, distraught, embarrassed, and dismayed.

I am not a religious person. It took me many years of painful work to extract my beliefs from those of the prevailing religion I was raised in. The past 10 years has been a struggle to separate my own beliefs from what passes as Christianity. So, if I'm not religious and not Christian, what am I? I suppose you could call me a Spiritualist, though I have my own definition of what that is. But this isn't about me.

Back to the movie.When we left the movie, my husband commented that Bill Maher managed to offend everyone. He wondered if anyone put a contract out on him. My comment was I didn't want to know I share the planet with such crazy people! It's going to be difficult to get my head back into the sand.

If you see the movie, you have to keep remembering that this is sacrilegious comedy. It is meant to poke fun, ridicule, show in a bad light, and question the many strange beliefs and practices that people follow. If you want to find out more about the various things that can be believed, or even find where your beliefs fit in with the belief of others, click

Meanwhile, see the movie if you're ready to be offended or you want to laugh out loud. At times, it may achieve both. Click on for more on the various religions and themes from the movie.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

The sky is falling!!!!!

Animations - 100dollar-02The old fortunetellers curse, "My you live in interesting times," seems to have hit an all time high. Or low, depending on how you view the current predicament.

It's VERY difficult for me to get my mind around what's happening. Maybe I'm shallow, maybe I'm naive, but I can't get worked up about this. Could be that if I allow myself to get worked up I'll get scared (the sky is falling...the sky is falling) and I HATE feeling helpless. Because I can't think of anything I, personally, can do to "fix" this--I'd rather not know about it in detail. I like my information to be general, a head's up sort of warning.

My husband is trying to understand, to learn. He spends lots of time studying and watching the Internet, following the story. I figure when something really lifestyle threatening comes along, he'll let me know.

Meanwhile, I find it VERY interesting that this is happening now, during the election brouhaha.
Coincidence? Synchronicity? Fate? or just Bad Luck?
Whatever it is, I find that MY way of dealing with this is to find some humor, even if it isn't all that funny. If I keep searching, I may just find the laugh at the end of the tunnel.

If you want to watch something interesting on the 90's Savings & Loan fiasco, watch this. John McCain has a past!

Sunday, October 5, 2008

We're Moving

We've been kicking around the idea of moving closer to my work. Right now it's a 20 minute commute for me, and I have to drive across UW campus, which can be terrifying at certain times of the day!

I'd about decided that it would be easier to just stay where we are. It's an OK place, and we wouldn't have to be bothered with packing things up and physically moving the furniture (what can I say, I'm lazy!!)

Then, I drove a co-worker home one day and she invited me in to see her apartment. Her kitchen is twice the size of mine, the bathroom is bigger, and the rent includes HEAT and HOT WATER! So, just for fun, I dropped by the office to see if anything was available. They had ONE (1) unit that will become available exactly the time our lease expires. Seemed destined, so we took it. Loren was impressed with the apartment when he saw it, plus it's only 1 block away from Sundance Cinema, his favorite place to hang out.

So, now we have one (1) month to sort through our stuff and discard, throw away and/or give away a LOT of stuff. The new place is smaller than where we're at, which is fine. It's plenty big enough if we get rid of half our stuff.

In honor of the move, I promptly bought a new sofa and matching chair off Craigslist. The new apartment has hardwood floors throughout! The furniture we brought with us from Appleton was uncomfortable and mismatched. We haven't owned matching, comfortable furniture since we left California. I decided it was time, and when I saw this sofa and chair, I had to have it. The pix doesn't do it justice. The fabric is a rich brown with burgundy and hunter tones in the pattern. It's overstuffed and extremly comfy. Loren loves it too. The chair is just his size, which means it's too big for me! Since we bought it around my birthday, I figure it's my birthday present. Yeah! Bring on more birthdays like this one!

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