Sunday, November 8, 2009

End of Fall (?) in Madison

For all of the critics who complain about the long winter in Madison, I will say this: As someone who prefers running outside versus inside, I have been doing outdoor running for the past eight months (since March 9, to be exact). So, I ask you how is it possible that we have "winter for six months" when I have been running, for eight months, outside? With no snow. I think in the past eight months, I may have run on a treadmill five times. Two of those times were in hotels. The other three were probably due to inclement weather. I can easily track our weather, since I know my morning routine, as it applies to the state of the Madison atmosphere.

I have said to many people that I am excited for the first big snowfall. It is still exciting. Even as an adult.

And although I experienced the last "outdoor" farmers market of the season, (sad), I am excited for the winter. Yesterday, as we walked around the final outdoor market, I would estimate that most people were not wearing jackets. The sky was cloudless and the temperature was probably already 60 degrees. It was beautiful. Tables were outside at my favorite brunch place.

Being accused of a "delinquent blogger," by one of my sisters (I only have two), I am overdue for this. I hate the "I am so busy" excuse. Always have. Since labor day weekend, I have been booked, up until this current weekend - November 6th through the 8th.

What is going on? Three weekends, I had work related events. Two weekends, I had weddings out of town. Two weekends, I had family visiting here from out of state. And in the next two weekends, I have a large work event, then a weekend trip, then most of my family is coming here for Thanksgiving, then I leave for my vacation. So, if you want to try to make some plans with me on the weekend, we are looking at the weekend after Christmas. Which is why I STILL have not been back to Cleveland, Ohio since I moved here.

Having nothing on my agenda this weekend has felt incredibly strange. I certainly don't want to take any spontaneous day trips. My boyfriend and I took advantage of the free film festival on campus and saw "Ghost Bird." (Some of my friends were distributing materials at the farmer's market, marketing the free film festival. One, in a carrot suit.)

Although I am not a birder, I must admit that the movie was very interesting. I hesitated to go with him, but thought it would be a good experience. In 2005, the "thought to be extinct" Ivory Billed Woodpecker was spotted in a very small town in Arkansas. What it did for this town, alone, economically enhanced it. Think "the middle of nowhere." Suddenly, all of these people are flocking there, with the hopes of a sighting.

The usual happens: Freaking politics, every time. Yes, you guessed it - the government got involved. They make the formal announcement that they have validated the sighting. And the most frustrating thing happens. The search team gets federal funding to continue this highly expensive and potentially useless exploration!

Why is it useless? You may have guessed it again. Ornithologists start to think that this discovery may have not been the "possibly extinct" ivory bill, but its look alike, the pileated woodpecker.

The story tells the controversy of the "who spotted Elvis" tail (that was a pun) on the ivory bill woodpecker, government, and the scientists (mainly ornithologists) who support the sighting and the skeptics who don't.

I wish I could feel so much passion towards birding. I can't relate to it at all. Like I can't relate to looking forward to a Packers game. And one Ornithologist, when describing his hopes of spotting one of these birds, admitted, somewhat modestly, that he has "wept" when listening to other people's sightings of this rare bird. I just can't relate. As much as I would love to have that enormous sense of emotion about such a small piece of life.

In other doings around town, as the fall carries on - I highly recommend the Coen brother's latest, "A Serious Man." They are so incredibly creative. They did it again. A movie that makes you think and discuss a lot afterwards. So many loose ends.

I was introduced to another hiking trail in Middleton. Pheasant Branch is a family friendly preservation that I am pretty sure is featured in a picture in "Money Magazine." The article is in their annual "best places to live" issue from this past summer. As Madison's famous blogger, Penelope Trunk tweeted, regarding Middleton's rating: (It is rated four out of one hundred!)

"Untold truth: No foreign cars, no foreign films, and lox is a foreign word."

As I said, I am staying in Madison proper. But as my boyfriend says (and doesn't follow), "live and let live."

My state pass was well used this season. I finally selected my favorite bars down town. Dined at the new Porta Alba location. Known for their stone oven pizza, (the oven was built from lava stone,) my boyfriend thinks they have one of the best pizzas in town. I had the Gorgonzola gnocchi, which was pretty good. Although, the portion was small. I didn't finish it, but it is unusual that I ever finish anything I order from a restaurant. And I think the price is right. Attended a couple of concerts. The music scene is pretty good in this small town.

And when the snow falls, I can finally convince myself that is ok to stay inside for a few hours. Until then - I am heading out.

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