Thursday, December 20, 2012

Snow day: adulthood style.

It's my second winter in Madison, and all the locals say that it's my first real winter. Though last year seemed quite snowy and chilly, it was apparently a light one. But this year, I'm in for a true Wisconsin winter, and Middleton (on the west side of Madison) has already been hit with almost 20 inches of snow.

It started last night, right as I was heading out of Stitch 'n Bitch at Take 5 (our new meeting place). I parked my car safely in my heated garage, where I plan to leave it until Saturday.

This morning, I bundled up, laced up my snow boots, and trudged the 0.8 mile walk to work (it seems much longer in the snow, trust me). Many folks didn't make it into the office, but those of us who live close by braved the storm. After a few hours, we were sent home because the snow was expected to get worse. I bundled up again and made it home, noting that the bike path is a good place to walk because the surrounding trees catch a lot of the snow before it hits the ground. Both of my outdoor trips today were livened up by my neighbor's puppy, Milo, who absolutely loves playing in the snow.

An afternoon view from my balcony, before round 2 of the snow really hit.
I took some writing and editing work home, and I must say it was refreshing to work in a different environment. It's tough to be creative at a desk every day. Also, the cats thoroughly enjoyed having me home early.

Jupiter was hard at work editing, but found that mechanical pencils require opposable thumbs.
Phoebe is too pretty to work, so she opted to lounge instead.
Once I got my work done, I discovered what adult snow days are all about:

Watching way too much Nip/Tuck,
painting my nails (OPI's Can You Tapas This?), and
taking a nice hot bath with some amazing vegan soap (Lush's Sea Vegetable).

A pretty amazing afternoon. Perhaps winter isn't so devilish, after all.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Unusual things I've seen in Madison, part 3: Ella's Deli.

I'll continue my series of unusual things with a truly one-of-a-kind dining experience.

Sighting #5: Ella's Deli

I've lived in Madison for a year and a half, and I can't believe it took me this long to blog about Ella's Deli. Opening on E. Washington Avenue in 1976, it is, to say the least, quite the spectacle. Decorated in a lively mix of vintage toys and interactive displays, the atmosphere is whimsical and full of life: definitely more than just a place to grab a bite. Classic cartoons soar across the ceilings, lighted wall displays blink in bright colors, and the tables are equipped with nostalgic activities (magnetic mustache drawing or pushing a button to activate a train, for example). The carousel outside is the icing on the cake, making the magical world of Ella's Deli a place where kids (and kids at heart) keep coming back.

Since the majority of the displays are constantly in motion, lighting up, or both, it's a tad difficult to photograph, but I did my best to document this rare kitschy gem:

Flying Mighty Mouse.

Polar bears surrounding the ice cream menu.

Magnetic drawing table.

Flying Popeye.

Flying Superman.

A lil' band playing a tune.

And just to prove that Ella's Deli in fact serves food,
here are the fried pickles (recommended by my coworker, Libby).
Click here for unusual things, part 1.
Click here for unusual things, part 2.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Alpaca Farm Trip: Fun. Fluffy. Fabulous.

As it has already been said on this blog, I'm an animal lover. And what can I say? Barnyard animals are the best. I was born and raised in the suburbs, so spending time with animals other than cats and dogs is a novelty to me. I never miss an opportunity to pet a furry friend. After visiting the Great Midwest Alpaca Festival in April (blog coverage here), I fell in love with alpacas. There really isn't a more profound way for me to describe them: THEY'RE SO FLUFFY!

When my friend Andrea proposed a group trip to Galpaca Farms, I immediately said yes. Today, a group of 11 knitters from Stitch 'N Bitch Madison went on a trip to Mt. Horeb and visited Mindy Huitt and Linda Kosovac's gorgeous farm home. They have 25 alpacas at their farm, and each is named to honor a deceased relative (names include Harriet, Aileen, and Aunt Helen). They spin yarn from their alpacas and each skein has the name and photo of the source alpaca.

As an extroverted animal lover, it didn't take me long to make a few friends, and Andrea took a quick video of me bonding with my new gal pal:

Alpacas are incredibly photogenic, so I took quite a few photos. It was tough to narrow it down, but here are my favorites (as always, I recommend clicking the photos for larger views, as these animals are ridiculously cute):

Posing with my 3 new friends.
Mother and son. He's 1 day old!

Alpacas love sunbathing!
An alpaca says hi to a crowd of knitters.
Meet Betty, the Great Pyrenees. She's a skilled herder!
Anne pets a 1-day-old alpaca.
Snack time! Kristen feeds an alpaca a carrot.
More snacks!

Group shot of the knitters at Galpaca Farms.
Top row: Caitlin, Larissa, Kat, Elysha, Polly, Cherie, Anne
Bottom row: Andrea, Yours Truly, Bronwen, Kristen
We certainly experienced a large dose of cuteness today. Thank you so much to Mindy and Linda for letting us visit the farm!

For more information about Galpaca Farms, please visit: or email Mindy and Linda at

Saturday, September 15, 2012

Wisconsin cities: hard to pronounce.

While I was lucky enough to end up in a city simply named Madison, the majority of Wisconsin city names are quite difficult to pronounce. For example, Potawatomi = paw-ta-wah-ta-me.

As a girl who was born in Boston, MA and raised in Charlotte, NC, I can certainly relate to this video of Texans trying to pronounce Wisconsin city names.

Monday, August 13, 2012

Beware the ides of March: Shakespeare on a field!

First, let's start this post with a deja vu: apologies for the major delay. Moving is exhausting, but I'm finally settled. And now, Shakespeare:

At the end of July, I attended the Madison Shakespeare Company's performance of Julius Caesar at Breese Stevens Field. Yup, that's right, a bring-your-own-chair Shakespeare production on a baseball field on a Thursday night. Only in Madison.

In addition to chairs, Amie, Erika, Jason, and I brought a smorgasbord of snacks to the event. What better way to enjoy Shakespeare than noshing outdoors?

I wasn't familiar with the play, so it took me a while to follow the story. Not only did I become acquainted with a classic, but I also learned a very important lesson: when Joni Mitchell said she was "as constant as a northern star," she was referencing Shakespeare. Go figure.

I forgot to bring my camera, so I did the best I could photography-wise using my iPhone and sitting behind an inconvenient gate. Note my favorite character below, whom I came to know as "man with hunchback and eyepatch." 

Kneeling before Caesar.
Killing Caesar.

"Man with hunchback and eyepatch."
The ghost of Caesar.

Sword fight!
Sword fight! 
Taking a bow.
Perfect weather, snacks, and Shakespeare: a lovely Thursday evening.

Saturday, July 14, 2012

My second chicken coop tour. Who would'a thought?

First of all, please excuse the major delay of this post. I bought a condo in Schenk-Atwood and I've been busy busy busy. I currently have two homes, which I suppose is much better than no home. In a few weeks, I'll be totally settled in the new place.

Now, for the chickens:

On June 23rd, my friend Elysha and I went to the Tenney-Lapham Neighborhood Association's Tour Des Coops. After loving this event last year, I was excited to return for another go. Last year, I was impressed by an array of beautiful feathers. But this year, it was a deluxe coop that caught my eye:

Amy Alstad and Eric Udelhofen's "chicken mansion" is luxury bird living at its finest.
I made sure to take notice of the coops this year, and there were some great ones (including lovely signage).

This tongue-in-cheek chicken coop is a true coop d'etat.
Short and sweet.
After holding a chicken and a turkey during last year's tour, I was hoping to once again snuggle with a feathered friend. Thankfully, Peter and Andrea Robinson (owners of RP's Pasta) had a friendly chicken who was up for a photo op.

Meet Blue! She was quite chatty when I held her and clucked for everyone on the tour.
She got sassy for this photo and wasn't afraid to do a little legbombing.
But wait! There weren't just chickens this year. Elysha found a bunny:

No feathers, but still pretty cute.
Here are a few of my favorite chicken photos from the tour:

"We're too fabulous for a coop, so we chill in the backyard. Don't you dare touch our beach ball."
Elysha and I had a great time with the chickens, and some day she hopes to have a coop of her own.

Click here for my report from last year's Tour Des Coops.

Sunday, June 24, 2012

My evening with Bernie and the sausages: Stitch 'N Pitch 2012!

I will begin this post with an amazing video of my friend Helena dancing her ass off. I'll explain this later.
I have lived in Wisconsin for a tad over a year, and in that time I've learned many things, including that most Wisconsinites love sausage. Therefore, it's completely rational that they'd dress adults up as sausages and have them race around a baseball field.

I had seen photos and heard stories of the famous racing sausages at Milwaukee Brewers baseball games, but there just hadn't been a good time to see them in person. But then, it happened: Stitch 'N Pitch 2012!

Sponsored by The National Needle Arts Association, the nationwide Stitch 'N Pitch brings together baseball and needle arts. Yarn vendors come to the baseball stadiums while knitters, crocheters, and quilters enjoy the game and partake in their favorite crafts.

Stitch 'N Bitch Madison sent 19 knitters to this lovely event, and it was definitely a moo-worthy evening. After my first ever tailgating experience (never thought I'd intentionally eat dinner in a parking lot), we proceeded to Miller Park.

The view from our seats. Don't ask me who the players are or what the score was.
I was there for camaraderie, knitting, and of course, sausages.
Let's start with some action shots:
Yours truly.
The REAL action: Andrea catches a fly ball... of yarn.

And then the sausages came out!

The sausages rode Harleys!
Left to right: Mexican, Polish, German, American, Italian
Anne REALLY wanted us to get on the jumbotron, so she made us these fabulous signs:
We really do knit in a bar!
Despite our best efforts (including Helena's rockin' dance moves in the video at the top of this post), we didn't make the jumbotron. It's okay, though, because...

I met Bernie Brewer! Apparently this is a rare occurrence.

Now that Bernie and I were pals, it was time for me to watch the sausages race!

And it's the Chorizo for the win!
Never one to resist a good photo op, Andrea and I proceeded downstairs to get our picture taken with some sausage statues, including the winning fella.

Andrea is a runner, so she helped me establish the proper form.
It was quite a game! I did the wave, had a frozen lemonade, and made friends with a famous, albeit moderately creepy, mascot. It was time to head home, and unfortunately, it wasn't the Brewers' night. The Toronto Blue Jays won the game, much to the delight of my 3 Canadian friends. 

In addition to the photos, I'll always have a lovely memento commemorating this occasion:

My souvenir bobble head!
(The Polish sausage hard at work on a cross-stitch!)
This dude now lives on my desk at work.
One, two, three strikes: I'm out!