Sunday, December 26, 2010

Taking Control of Your Life

This week, I worked and spent a fair amount of time outside. I end up walking a lot in the snow. And I especially love snow storms. Madison does not get lake effect snow like Cleveland, but we get a lot of snow like Cleveland. (I still laugh to myself when I think about the Clevelanders who asked me why I was going to a snowy place.... that's like asking someone from Scottsdale why they are moving to Miami..) I am used to the cold climate and fortunately, like it a lot. For those who complain to me, I have recently started responding, "Then why do you live here?" My most recent answers:

1) My parents raised me here (um - so move?)
2) It's warmer than Minnesota, where I am from. (I liked this answer better)

And this brings me to the topic of:

If you are unhappy, why aren't you doing anything about it?

Is it because you don't realize you can? Or is the average American not motivated enough to make a change?

I hated my work. I changed jobs. I hated Boston. I moved. I saw I loved Madison. So I moved here. I wasn't getting along with my boyfriend. I broke up with him. I wanted to express myself. I started a blog. I wanted to improve my attitude. I went to therapy. I wanted to feel good again. I started running.

I have a lot of areas I can say I haven't worked on. But why do Americans love to bitch about things for twenty years without doing anything about it?

It seems that people are happy being unhappy. You can complain about your awful job all you want. But remember, you are in control of your life. And it is up to you to do something about it. So do it. You are not victims (with the small exception of being a victim of the economy....)

I know so many people who stay in long, boring relationships or cities - or whatever. But to me, the sky is the limit. Life is so much more exciting knowing that I am not stuck. Everything changes. And life is too short to stay living with someone if you see potential in something else. I often wonder if people who married young did that because they just thought it was the right thing to do. Cause nobody stays married any more.

For me, it was literally hard to leave Madison on my last visit before I moved here. I felt like I didn't go everywhere and do everything I wanted to. Because, in order to do that, I would need to spend an extended period of time here (like live here) to do it. So, that was my final deciding factor. It was hard to leave. So I am here.

If you are going to bitch about your weather or your lover. Why don't you get out? WHY?! I just don't get it. Be proactive and take countrol of your life. It's exciting.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Restaurant Number Five on the Square

After a very warm and pleasant getaway to Turks and Caicos, I am back in Madison for a while. And I am happy to be here and experience it. There is so much to do in town this winter, so my plan is to take it all in.

There are a number of new restaurants on and around the square. L'Etoile moved, Graze opened, the Old Fashioned expanded, the Underground Kitchen, Nostrano, Francesca and now - Merchant Madison. I was very excited about it. I tried to check on the progress of it every time I passed by with the dog. And it opened this past week!

Excited to check it out, some friends and I went there last night for drinks/munchies. I wasn't that hungry on my way there, but after about fifteen minutes, my dinner bell was ringing. (I am one of those people who can't go very long without food when I am hungry).

My understanding of this new joint is that they want to have a casual breakfast and lunch and an upscale dinner with "crafty" drinks. They also want to sell some gourmet foods on their shelves.

So - let me put it this way. If I am shopping for something gourmet in a pinch, I am going to walk over to the very much loved fromagination around the corner to buy some Potter's Crackers, spiced nuts, etc. I don't know what Merchant Market is thinking about their gourmet selection. Umm - the last time I checked, I could get Heinz Ketchup, Nutella, Sriracha Sauce and even "gourmet" noodles at the cheap college grocery store across the street. I love the experience of a nice market. So, if they want to do that, I recommend they look at what Fox & Obel is selling and go after products like that.

The atmosphere was nice - it is very large. I am pretty sure the space was previously an office. It's a fun environment and it wasn't busy for their debut Saturday night. It was very cold - temperature wise. I cut them some slack, though because it was like three degrees outside.

The drink menu looks fun. These are some "crafty" drinks. I had a "bonfire" something or other which included tequila and a lot of other things (maybe something with mango?) and a nice lemon garnish. All of these cocktails are around $9.00 and unfortunately, I am going to be mean and say they are much better and cheaper at Fresco. Especially when you can do the Fresco $5 menu. My friends tried other specialty drinks and weren't that excited, either.

We had a few appetizers which were tasty, but I hope you aren't hungry because they did the same thing that I have been experiencing quite a lot lately - they used a large plate to put little cheeses and crackers and the such on display. If I was hosting a party, I would be embarrassed to serve this stuff. It looked like nothing on this giant plate. The apple was probably 1/6 of an apple and the crumbled nuts were probably literally 4 peanuts chopped up. It was all good, but too small. Ok - so enough is enough. I feel bad being so critical, so the main thing here is that the portions are small (we got some other things) but the food was ok.

They boasted about their sustainable and localness like every other place on the square, which is great - don't get me wrong.

Server was nice and friendly. The drinks took forever, but they just opened, so again, no sweat. All in all - too expensive for drinks/dinner, portions need to be bulked up and they need to restock their shelves.

After that, we headed to Cooper's Tavern - a great place that is so close to my home, I could walk there in my sleep. Plus, the poutine filled us up. So bad for you, yet so good. The free round of drinks didn't hurt, either.

Next, I am heading back to Nostrano and the Underground Kitchen.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

What I Really Want to Blog About

Sometimes, I ponder where I am going to take my blog. Or what to write about. A lot of times, I want to write about really horribly opionated things that I bring up with people and think to myself, "I should blog about that." However, a lot of the time, I feel that it is just too inappropriate unless I start a new unanonymous blog. Which has also crossed my mind. But I don't think I will do.

I would love to blog about things like:

Horribly over-consuming Americans
My recent political issues
Personal stories of breaking-up and getting back together

Just to name a few. But, as little kids like to say a lot, "I can't."

So - maybe I will just touch on them in a real appropriate way.

Affairs - too much to say on this topic. I think they happen a lot. Humans used to die at the age of forty. So, twenty years of marriage was manageable. I am still quite skeptical of the whole insitution of marriage and I am ok with that. I guess that's something I am supposed to be working on in therapy.

Walmart - Do you like picturing your toddlers (you know, the ones you can't believe are three years old today on your facebook statuses) working a twelve hour shift to make a pair of cheap socks for the overconsuming American who has 76 pairs of socks as it is? (including holiday themed ones, birthday socks and more....)

So, I just touched on the overconsumer problem.

Political issues - I am keeping my mouth shut here. Feel free to share your opinions. Something I did learn over the weekend from a source who is friends/family with a number of soldiers: When coming back from Iraq, they do not want to hear random strangers thanking them as they travel through the airports and on the plane. They just want to get home. (Interesting, isn't it?)

Breaking up and getting back together - I would love to share some funny stories. But I will tell you one thing. When asked one time by a male friend how you are able to date in Madison without running into another person you are dating, I confirmed that "you can't." Maybe not unless you went to dinner in Milwaukee.

And that, my friends, is what I (sort of) want to blog about. A lot of the time.

Monday, November 29, 2010

The Underground Dinner

Everyone was sad when Cafe Montmatre on E. Mifflin closed. My relationship with the restaurant was short and sweet. Having been introduced at my brother-in-law and sister's wedding brunch, I liked the atmosphere and the food.

Flash forward to 2008 and I was new to Madison and invited to hear some music there on a Saturday night. As fun, young people came in and everyone danced the night away, I liked the venue.

I met friends there during several snowy storms and it felt cozy. And of course, what's not bad about being able to walk there? They had this great $5 pizza night. The bar was great. I guess things just got tough and then they closed.

Now we always heard of Underground Kitchen. The "collective" group who have catered numerous events around town. No owner. No head chef. They cooked up wonderful breakfasts at the indoor farmer's market. Well, now they are in Cafe Montmatre's space. And it is good.

Having checked it out through the windows numerous nights as I walk by with my dog, I have been very anxious to try it out. It always appeared busy as I peaked through the glass, everyone inside looked like someone I would be friends with (yes, there are also older people who dine there. I would want to be their friend, too)and the bar looked happening.

So, last Tuesday night, I did my walk by and it was busy. So I texted my bf and met him there. The only table they could give us was right by the door and it was cold. But we didn't care. I think they are working on getting something to prevent the cold air from coming in (actually, I believe the host said they are changing the entrance to the other door), but really, it was a non issue. It was busy.

I will note here that my dad taught us when we were young to always try and prevent cold air from blowing into a restaurant. For example, if there is a breezeway between two doors, wait until the first door is closed before you open the second. I think this is very thoughtful.

Back to Underground.... Our server was not your typical server. She was not outgoing. No extrovert here. She seemed more like a scientist than a sociologist. But she did know the menu quite well. We decided to try the polenta fries with homemade squash ketchup, romanesco & leeks in cream and the orecchiette as an entree. The appetizers were absolutely tasteful. I highly recommend the romanesco and leeks in the creamy stuff. I believe they also had some breadcrumbs. Romanesco is in the broccoli family, so you should be open to that type of vegetable. The dipping sauce (squash stuff) with the polenta fries was excellent. And the entree was our least favorite, but we were pretty stuffed. We each had a drink (I had a red blend, he had a beer). Our total was about $34.00 and the desserts sounded delicious, we were just too stuffed.

The atmosphere is great. I like the wood floors, the nice tables, it's brighter than it used to be, but still has that warm feel. The festive large squash decorations by the front door helped.

One thing I read before going there is that because they have an open kitchen (yeah -you can see them doing everything), your clothes smell. This is somewhat true, but it didn't bother me. Also, I think there is a communal table there, but we didn't sit on that side of the restaurant.

All in all, I loved the food (the usual - local and sustainable) and I loved the atmosphere. So I will be spending some more time there. I am very excited for the first big snow fall so I can get all of my friends there on a stormy night for some good food and drink.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Gender Identity

And here is my latest argument. Lately, I have been thinking a lot about gender identification. I know there have been a lot of experiments and research performed on this topic.

I could go on about this for a while. But, my main issue right now is the color coding. If I currently had a little boy or girl, I would love to do my own little experiment.

Dress your toddler in some gender neutral clothes (say a little girl in some brown/black/green) and they are automatically called "he."

Our mother was pretty much against the pink for girls and blue for boys rule. There are a few people she made exceptions for. And that's how we were raised.

A friend of the family raised her two daughters quite differently. Daughter A was during the hippie movement. She was dressed in gender neutral clothes. She is an engineer who doesn't shave her legs. Daughter B was after the hippie movement. Mom started wearing make-up, watching her figure and maintaining her own appearance. Daughter B is a make-up wearing, nail polishing, skinny, little, feminine and sexy thing.

It is interesting, isn't it?

I am not sure where the color coding came from. Looking at art, I presume it started centuries ago.

But why not let your kids decide how masculine or feminine they want to be? My niece wears a lot of boy hand-me-downs. And I think Americans are over consuming in their need to buy more and more things (like clothes for younger children of a different gender, when their older sibling of the opposite sex has perfectly fine used clothes). And so, little niece doesn't want to wear anything in her hair. And when offered to wear a barrette to pull back some hair from her face, she rejects. Well, how about if her role model, the older brother wears it? Ok, now she will gladly wear one, too! And see, it's not about what is for a boy or what is for a girl. She wants to be just like him.

And with that being said, it is fine with me if my son wants to wear his hair in a clip because the girl down the street is doing it. He will figure out what is "masculine." And I always liked that my little cousin (although quite macho) would wear a dress during playtime. He is from Madison. How many boys will do that?

And the last thing I will say is if I have a baby (although I always sit with the laptop on my lap, which supposedly reduces your chances, so it's unlikely), please do NOT buy me blue things with sports logos on it for my son or pink ruffled things for my daughter. It's sexist!

Sunday, November 7, 2010

The Newest Restaurant Review in Madison.....

I recently went to a new restaurant off the square, called Nostranos. It is located in the old Peppino's across from Gennas. Nostranos was delicious.

Opened by a young couple from Chicago, the restaurant is not cheap. The atmosphere is lovely. My boyfriend took me here for a celebration dinner, which was very nice of him. We ordered an appetizer salad, (called Farm Egg Salad - not what you are thinking), entrees (I had the Delicata Squash Cannelloni and it was fabulous) and a dessert. Nothing is large enough or filling enough, but the food is excellent. No surprise, the food is prepared with local ingredients, etc, etc. The menu is on the Italian side.

We waited a really long time for our food. Fortunately, having just been to Paris, where you can wait an eternity for any service, we didn't mind at all. In fact, I don't think a lot of Madisonians mind waiting.

The portions were just too small. The entrees are served on large plates. They either need to:
A) Use smaller plates or
B) Add some big side dish to fill their plates. This is easy to do with a cheap vegetable (potatoes or kale?) with some good seasoning.

Now, as I note some vegetables, it seems the only local vegetables you can get right now are squashes, which is fine. Tonight, I am going to prepare a parsnip and apple mash. (From a recipe I got out of Martha's magazine when I was having my gray hair colored). I recently bought delicata squash from the market and it was one of the tastiest squashes I have had.

The next restaurant I would like to try to is Underground Kitchen in the old Montmatre space. I have done several walk bys with my dog and it looks fun in there. I hear they change their menu a lot and there are several community tables. Underground was known as a catering business. It has a locally sourced menu, blah, blah, blah.

We have too many good restaurants here. I am so spoiled. (And glad I moved here). Especially because I can walk to a lot of them.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Back to My Favorite Time

Well, it's that time of year again: Fall. I love this time. We have great foliage here in Madison. I try very hard not to let it pass too quickly.

After missing the beggining of autumn, I am happy to be back in my town. I am literally thrilled.

So, for those of you who don't know, after the whirlwind ten days of traveling to Europe, I was home for about seventy-two(?) hours. I wasn't feeling well and I have no idea how the president does it. I was exhausted.

Back on a plane and headed to Cali, I was standing up in my dear friend's wedding. I was honored to be asked and it was a great time. Actually, a changing time for me. I have mixed feelings about weddings - but that's for another post.

(*NOTE - I am hitting my limit of wedding parties. I will do two more in the next ten years - so I may say "no" to you..., take it as a compliment)

And so, after seeing one of the most beautiful parts of the country,it was time to take my very first red eye. I thought I was a rockstar when I told everyone I was going to work as soon as I drove home from my redeye. As I sat in my claustrophobic seat on the plane, I contemplated squeezing a run in before I hit the office (I am so anal about my running).

And as I started to feel sick and lightheaded, I decided to slowly get up to ask the flight attendant for a gingerale. But I never made it there. Because I fainted in the aisle. And that, ladies and gentleman, was my first experience fainting.

It's not so scary and I actually felt better after I came to. Do you know that feeling before you throw up? And then after, you feel better? That's how I felt after fainting.

Needless to say, even though I still wanted to go to work, I hadn't slept in over twenty-four hours, for the third night in two weeks and was awake for about three hours the rest of that day. Oh well. I tried.

I read three books while traveling. They were all good. The laugh-out-loud book was Wally Lamb's (She's Come Undone, I Know this Much is True), latest little fiction, "Wishin' and Hopin'. It's a page turner (my favorite kind).

I also was convinced to read Twilight and I must say - it's good.

And now, I am "wishin' and hopin'" to stay put in Madison for a long, long time.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Having a Ball in Paris

After spending nine days in Paris with a brief stop in Madison, I am trying to bang out everything (you know, packing, unpacking, laundry, getting in a normal time zone, finding a dog sitter, you get the hint)..... including a posting on my travels to Paris. This is going to be a long one.

My favorite part of going on a vacation is taking a vacation away from all technology. Phones. Text. Internet, etc.

Paris is a wonderfully beautiful city, rich with architecture. There is a lot to fit in in nine days. Somehow, I did it all.

When you think about all of your classroom experiences, from elementary and beyond, you actually get to see all those photos up close and personal in Paris.

Here is what I did:

Jardin de Luxembourg (Famous Garden)
Notre Dame (You know)
Left Bank Walk (A nice stroll on the left bank, including a stop at a lovely old bookstore).
D'orsay (Lots of impressionism, fabulous building)
Rodin (The Thinker)
The Louvre (Mona Lisa)
Arc de Triomphe (The arch you see when you picture the giant rotary)
River Cruise on the Siene
Galleries Lafyette Department Store Rooftop (Has great city views)
Place Des Vosges
Pompidou (Modern Art Museum)
Giverny (Monet's house/gardens)
Sacre-Coeur (Beautiful Catholic Church on a hill)
Cluny (Renaissance/Tapestry)
Deportation Memorial (Where the Jewish people were lead when the Germans invaded)
Victor Hugo's Apartment
Le Cordon Bleu (Julia Child)
Eiffel Tour (The star of Paris)
I am sure I am forgetting something here, but I am slightly overwhelmed with where to start.

If you are planning a trip to Paris, I highly recommend Rick Steves' guidebook. It is extremely helpful.

Having been to the french country as a teenager, this was my first time in the big city. Like any big city, it is overcrowded, loud and busy. Everything in Paris is smaller. They can easily cram six bistro tables with chairs into what we would consider the size of a small closet. Us Americans - we have too much stuff.

They aren't rude. They didn't "force" me to speak their language. Although, enough french came back to me to get by without a problem. They don't ever serve water unless you ask for it and once your glass is empty, you're done. Bring lots of water with you when you are out for the day.

And speaking of being "out" for the day, you need to be in excellent physical shape for a trip to Paris. In order to really experience all of the sites, you walk about five miles a day. This includes a ton of stairs.

I am not just talking about stairs. I am talking you are at the bottom and you cannot see the top. At all. March to the top of the Arc de Triomphe (284 steps) or the Notre Dame (402 steps) or the apartment I stayed in (five flights). You will know who is American there because they are the ones who stop in between steps, huffing and puffing. These are shallow steps. Narrow, sometimes claustrophobic and winding.

I did my research on running in Paris. I came to the conclusion based on my studies that they don't run. This is false. There are more runners in Paris than in other cities I have visited, but there aren't a ton, like Madison. The best thing to do is to find a nearby park and do loops in there. Running on their streets is difficult because of the people who have absolutely no desire to get out of your way which leads to lots of "Pardon!"

Now - for the sites, I recommend all of them. I would say the Cluny was my least favorite, yet still interesting. The tapestries were nice and it lacks the popularity of some of the others which is nice, when you want to do something a little quieter.

I loved the river cruise. Bundle up because it is cold on a fall night on the Siene River. You have great views of a lot of their historical buildings and the tour guide was informative. Go after dark.

Notre Dame was a grand church. What blew me away when I walked through there was that it has held up remarkably well. As you climb the 400+ stairs, crowded with people behind and in front, you wonder how it is possible that this structure is still standing and how it is possible that the stairs don't just crumble from under. I felt that way running up to the Arc de Triomphe as well. (By the way, there really were hunchbacks and you will know why...)

From afar, Socre Coeur looks so close. But it is so far away. The Eiffel Tower has the same effect.

The first time I saw the Eiffel Tower, I was blown away. I get star struck and the Tower is the celebrity of this city. It has an overbearing, empowered presence. It is surreal until you get close. Take the metro stop to the Trocadero and you will have the best view of it. When you are close enough, you can actually see camera flashes from the second floor and the top. The rickety sounding elevator can be intimidating and I insisted on going to the top. People will tell you it is scary. The elevator ride is slightly worry some. You feel like you are dangling and can free fall at any moment. The top is amazing. And there is a small apartment at the top with a recreation of Mr. Eiffel, his daughter and Ben Franklin. (I believe it was his office).

I was glad to have seen the art exhibit at the Cleveland Art Museum a few months ago, which featured some of the history of the tower.

The D'orsay is great, too. The building was an old train station. Currently under construction, I think some of the paintings are moved around. There is a ton of Degas, Monet, Van Gogh, etc.

The Rodin has the great garden with the famous Thinker. The Louvre is completely gigantic and overwhelming. There are a zillion people there and poor Mona Lisa has a million cameras in her face all the live long day (guilty!)

The highlight of the trip was taking a day to go to Giverny. It was about an hour away from the big city. It was a lovely day. Sunny. Beautiful. Peaceful. And you could actually hear the birds chirping. I was pleased. Go to lunch at the restaurant on his property. The food was good and it reminded me of a "ladies lunch" kind of place.

There is something so mystical about being in his garden. My photos of the lily pads and the weeping willows look like his paintings to me. It is magic. I will always look at his paintings in a different and special way now.

His house is incredible, as well. I loved the room he used to paint in. If you get to Paris, definitely take a trip to Giverny. (I had no interest in Versailles).

As for the food - it was all delicious. I recommend a Creperie place called Creperie Suzette. And I loved Angelina's for a nice cup of hot chocolate. They are famous for it and the line is worth it. It is like drinking a candy bar.

I even got to sit in on a class at Le Cordon Bleu. Yes, there are some pictures of Julia, Giada, Meryl Streep and more. My understanding is that Parisians don't really know much about the school. A lot of Americans go there. It appears that a lot of Asians do, as well.

Up next: Carmel-by-the-Sea!

A Bientot!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Restaurant Scene in Madison

I am leaving for Paris tomorrow and I want to get out a posting before I go. I will be out of touch for a while.

I refer to Madison's square a lot. When I walk around it, whether it is for a little stroll with the dog or to get somewhere, I am always interested in the commerce around there. I love watching the progress of restaurants as they prepare for their openings.

Here is my latest observation:

Graze is doing well. I recommend it to anyone. Their brunch is superb - I had a chocolate french toast dish (I believe it was sandwiched with nutella). The lunch was amazing - homemade beet veggie burger. (I love beets). Even their lemonade is worth the visit. The best lemonade I have had - no exaggeration. I have only been there for drinks in the evening. I snacked on the truffle oil popcorn and it was delish. Tory Miller, (best) chef and owner said that a lot of people do not realize that everything is homemade - including bread (and I would even guess their butter).

Tory is a chef who you can spot regularly at the farmer's market, shopping for a chunk of ingredients that you will eat at his establishment. What's cooler than seeing a top chef walk through his restaurant with a wagon full of farmer's market produce?

Also in the news, Restaurant Magnus, a classy joint off the square has made a big announcement. They are closing and turning into a casual restaurant that will be "biker friendly." I guess bikers who like to stop for a bite will pull over and stop at the new place. It is closing in January.

Cafe Continental, also a tasty restaurant on King Street will be closing. The family who owns it has been in the business since 1933. Muramoto's group will open it at some point, calling it "43 North". (Love these short names!) It will be the first place the group is opening that will be non-Asian.

I read about nine months ago that a young couple from Chicago is opening a new place in the old Peppino's spot off the square. When asking a valid source, he said that they are opening it - very slowly.

The other interesting looking storefront is the market across from Marigold. It claims it will be a gourmet, down town market with some sort of martini or wine bar? My valid source said he thinks that store will be "a risk" and he also said it is slowly moving forward.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Infamous Bike Rack Posting

Way back when, I asked for you to send me a photo of a bike rack in your city.

Before I moved to Madison, it appeared to be very biker/runner friendly. Some enthusiasts disagree with me. Compared to what I was used to, it was/is a dream come true for my early morning running routine.

In Madison, I was overjoyed with the bike racks, overflowing with bikes. I would point out to my new friends that other cities have bare racks all over. I even told the story about the woman who didn't know what the bike rack on the car was.

I thought to myself, "How about if people share their bike racks to demonstrate the popularity of bike riding in Madison, Wisconsin?"

I have a very poor sample. Having studied quantitative methods, this is not a research project. But here it is.

Enjoy your photos.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

You Know You're Generation Y....

When I first moved here, I noticed a lot of Subarus, NYT dog poop bags, market goers.... Now - well, that's just Madison.

However, as I mentioned about Madison a few years ago, there are a lot of things that go on in here (and within the Generation Y culture) that others "just don't get:"

1) Hating Walmart

2) Staying in boutique hotels

3) Shopping locally

4) Photographing food and uploading it onto your blog/facebook/tweeting about it

5) Anti Child producing (aka having kids)

6) Having a blog

7) Discussing and digesting the restaurant scene

8) Reading the "NYT" and consistently uploading it onto your blog/facebook/twitter account

9) Moving to New York or Chicago (evidently, those are the only two cities in the entire United States of America that are "cool")

10) Watching "Mad Men" or "Dexter"

11) Making a dinner from scratch

12) Sharing a CSA

13) Biking to work

And I just described myself minus #4, #9, #10, #12 and #13... (Ok, so I am half way there)....


Monday, September 13, 2010

The Square that is Madison

Every weekend, the square is converted into an activity. While Lance Armstrong was on the square two weeks ago, one week ago, Lisa Loeb performed (totally unbeknownst to me, found out after)and yesterday - the Ironman.

Every Labor Day weekend, Madison has an annual event that I like to call, "The Taste of the United States of America." Madison, I am ashamed. While our local restaurants do incredibly well in this little city, the "taste" includes Little Caesers, Panchero's, and more places that I haven't been to since college. But, it does also include some Madison favorites. It brings in people from I am not even sure where... and down town is as congested as a Badger home game Saturday.

And yesterday, thousands of people gathered down town to watch those athletes who want to do the ultimate challenge: the Ironman. (My sister has accused me of being a delinquent blogger and said she is sure she will read about how the Ironman should be called the "Ironperson" in my next posting.... she knows me too well).

This competition is truly an unbelievable act. And an inspiration to watch. As I have mentioned before, races are very emotional for me to watch. When I greeted a friend who had a wonderful support system of spectateurs after her most incredible accomplishment, I was able to tell her how proud I was of her. Something that never comes out of my mouth naturally. Completing an ironman is something that just seems unattainable to me - I jealously admit that. But I will never do it.

Every time I watch a marathon (or the Madison Ironman,) I think to myself,
"maybe I will do another marathon.... nah!"

The one piece of advice I will give you if you are training, whether it is for an ironman or a marathon, having a great support system during your training and at the event is key.

For more running tips and sticking with your routine, e-mail me.

Monday, August 30, 2010

The French Impact in Madison

As I traveled to Montreal in the cold season, I thought about the need to desperately brush up on my french. I don't know how good my french was when I studied it. I do know this: I really loved that class. My Parisian teacher commented to my parents in my report card back in 1997 or 1998 that I had a lot of enthusiasm for the language.

Let me start by telling you the most exciting thing that happened in Madison this weekend (which has something to do with France). I have blogged several times about Madison's Ride the Drive. I mentioned a special someone who was coming to promote it. The seven time winning Tour De France winner, Lance Armstrong was here! See my photos!! (I get star struck really easily.) I planted myself in a great spot to catch a glimpse, but didn't get any really good photos of him.

As I said, I am bike-a-phobic, but Dad and I walked a lot of the route in 88 degrees with my big, old, furry and hot golden retriever.

I am excited about the prospect of turning the city into an even "more" biker friendly place, which I hope will in turn put me more at ease about biking places. I just walk everywhere. I should probably work on overcoming my PTSD.

And back to my "Frenchy" tales, there is a fabulous little hidden gem on Mineral Point Road called "La Baguette." It is owned by a French couple and I believe they have an imported oven from France, but I have not looked up my sources. They play french music and have some french magazines. Sitting in the store, you feel exposed to the culture, but you don't feel like you are actually in France. (If you close your eyes, you would certainly feel like you were there). If you are a foodie, go there for lunch. You can at least look at photos of Sarkozy and his gorgeous wife in an outdated French magazine.

And then, on to my french speaking. Or lack of it. I finally attempted a "Cafe & Conversation," about two blocks from my condo. And before I left the crowd of french speakers, I announced, "I am screwed." I don't remember much but I will survive in France with my cute new walking shoes, plethora of scarves, dark hair and small build. Vraiment?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Now I'm Inside - Mish Mosh

Two years of blogging already. (I can't believe it! - one of my pet peeves. I can totally believe it because if I told you how much I have done since I started - well, even my sisters don't know all the dirty details.....)

Every time I walk the dog, I witness someone on a bike who always looks like they are about to get hit.

I am so excited for fall. I have been excited for it all summer. These long days with the sun out are killing me. I feel obligated to be outside until sunset.

Did you ever have that "exhausted" feeling after spending all day at the swimming pool when you were a kid? I am so anal, I try to recreate that feeling as an adult. I run four miles, lift weights, then go swimming to feel that "exhaustion" I felt from my child.

Just like I carve my pumpkins and decorate with this fall theme to remind me of my memorable childhood. Which is probably why I love this time of year that is just around the corner.

And Christmas time - love it. Have you ever walked around New York City or Chicago during the holidays? What a majestic time! Love the store windows. Walking around a museum and then sitting in a coffee shop with a hot chocolate drink - ideal Saturday afternoon.

And soon, I am going to Paris. I am lucky. I feel so blessed.

Sunday, Madison has a second "Ride the Drive." My golden and I are walking it with our Dad. Lance Armstrong leads the way. This should be part of Dad's training. Maybe he will start a blog about it......

Sunday, August 22, 2010

On Wisconsin!

Only in Madison do you meet a little girl who says to you at a coffee shop, "I knew that local toy store around the corner would have ugly dolls because it's not a big chain store." Where do kids get this stuff? I was impressed.

And so, a weekend of debating what to do, yet again. Gay pride, mini-marathon, new children's museum, and more. Well, everyone who knows me will be shocked to learn that I went to the Corn Festival in Sun Prairie. I didn't exactly fit in, but that doesn't matter. $1.00 gets you in and the rest is carnival games, food, a petting zoo and watching glutenous people. For $6.00, you can purchase a small, cardboard tub and then you enter the corn area....

Walk into this area, people load up as much corn as you can fit into your "tub," and then husk it yourself at a "husking station." Have it buttered by some young girls with gloves. Salt it with the "salt tree." A tree with what looks like clothes lines with salt shakers dangling on them. I had two. My friend had six. And the ninth was thrown out. Sorry.

The highlight of the corn feast was holding a yellow lab puppy at the petting zoo area.

You would have to live under a rock to miss the new Children's Museum that just opened opposite the square from my condo. It has received a ton of publicity and it looks awesome. So, I checked it out. A "human" hamster wheel, chickens on the rooftop and some of the best views of Madison are appealing to adults (and children). You would not know we are in a recession visiting this museum. (Also an interesting story about the design above the elevator on the rooftop).

I just made a good recipe I hadn't made in a while. Having purchased an eggplant for $1.00 yesterday at the market and basil for .$50, I made my "eggplant sandwiches" (No bread included. Just breadcrumbs). E-mail me for the recipe.

I suppose I am ready for my bike posting. If anyone else has a bike rack picture.... Send now or never. Thanks.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

What's in a Name?

I am always thinking about names. It's hard to name a child something that isn't already used by many others. And you don't want to make something up either. My child is my dog.

When I named her "Scout," I thought it was creative. Based on the young character in the classic, "To Kill a Mockingbird," I was pretty sure I had named my dog like no other dog owner before me. And boy, was I wrong.

In the past year, my building has housed three Scouts. Two of them golden retrievers.

You can always find it irritating when people don't "get" your name. I have been called an exuberant number of different names when introducing myself. From Janeanne to Janice to Amy and beyond. That's why I finally figured out if I say, "Janie like Janie's got a gun by Aerosmith", that seems to work.

Now, for Scout, I get a lot of "whats?" I have tried the "From To Kill a Mockingbird," but disappointingly enough, in the nine years I have had her, there have been too many times when people let me down by indicating that they have no clue what I am talking about. (And not everyone knows Aerosmith, either. But that's ok). So instead, I say "Scout. She's my girlscout." That clears it up.

So, many years ago, I determined a "Man Quiz." When flirting or on a date with a guy, if I tell him my dog's name and he replies, "Oh, did you get that from To Kill a Mockingbird?" he has passed one of my IQ tests. (There are about four. That's for another posting).

Through the years, it is mildly mind boggling that so many people do not know classic literature. And when a couple arrived at our regular dog park and introduced "Franny," their black lab, I asked if they were Salinger fans. They were. And as we discussed Holden Caufield, Nine Stories and his recent death, the Chicago couple told me there was a Zooey canine down the street from their old house in Chicago. They said when they met the dog, they replied, "This is Franny!" and the neighbors with Zooey were like, "Yeah?" "They didn't know the novel," they told me. "Who doesn't know Salinger?!" I gasped. (I am glad my parents kept three or four of his books in our basement which I read one summer). I am also glad that I go to a well-read dog park where we name our dogs after fictional characters from well known authors.

And on that note, my aunt and uncle just told me that their grandson's middle name is Rhett and it only makes them think of Rhett Butler. About a week later, I met a young guy who introduced himself to me as "Rhett, like Rhett Butler." "I bet you haven't heard that you're entire life," I said to him facetiously. "Yeah, right," he joked back.

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Patience and Stuff

The first article I read this morning was about the flight attendant who lost his temper. It sounds like something a lot of disgruntled employees dream of doing. My favorite part was the beer he grabbed on the way down and the "It's been nice!" type of comment he exclaimed as making his grand exit. (Unfortunately, it's election Tuesday and this was my favorite article. I don't really care about Palin's endorsement).

I think sometimes service people just lose it.

My patience, when I have it, has grown quite thin these days. On a really bad day, I have no tolerance for the people who clog up the square for every festive event that takes place. While boasting about how wonderful Concert on the Square was last summer, I completely skipped it this year. Talking with some real Madisonian neighbors, we agreed that surrounding yourself on a lawn full of people who drive in from Egypt to eat frozen entrees and drink cheap wine and think they are being real cultural is not the idea of fun. However, there are plenty of people who aren't like that in attendance.

I went to Wollersheim Winery over the weekend. I blogged about this place when I first moved here. About a thirty minute drive, the winery is on lovely grounds. I bought a french red that I have not opened yet. Since you can sample everything, I know I made a good choice. On a pretty afternoon, it's nice to pack a picnic and sit out on their patio with a bottle. They are cheap, too. You do have to dodge some of those Wisconsin people I was referring to, though. Beware. There are also Madison looking folks who look like they probably biked in from the "big" city.

Thanks for your bike rack photos. Still hoping for a few more.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

The Land of Exercise


I am lucky I am so disciplined. I have written many times about my addiction to running. In November of 2008, I blogged about exercise. Why aren't more people doing it?

This is something I think about every morning when I am outside: "Why aren't you exercising?" I am tired of your excuses because they are all horrible. Horrendous.

I know I blog about my running on here a lot. It is what brought me to Madison in the first place. But why aren't more people doing it?

I discovered with "On Demand" that I can watch television shows anytime. So, I selected this show called "Jillian" (or something like it) where the woman from the "Biggest Loser" spends a week at an obese family's home and teaches them how to improve their lifestyle. There is more to it than that. But, she hits the nail on the head when she says to the obese adults that they are "selfish." I am pretty sure that is exactly what I have told parents in poor health. And adults who do not exercise.

Why are you selfish? Because you are doing an extreme disservice to your children who love you. And are scared that you will die. Of heart disease, diabetes, cancer, high blood pressure, stroke, etc. If you think it's funny, it's not.

I listed the perks of exercise for me in my blog.

Now I am going to tell you the top three horrible excuses I hear.

1) "I am too busy"

In my pet peeve posting, I made it clear that I hate to hear that. What it really means is "it is not a priority." Do you think I want to blog more than I do? I do. But it id not on the top of my list. Exercise is number one on my list. I make sure it happens. You think I want to get up at 3:30 AM to go running? I have. Because I had to leave my house by 5. Because it is a priority. I am not too busy for it. Too busy? BAD excuse!

2) "I am waiting for it to cool down."
(That's for you, Dad - who is training to walk the five New York boroughs in October, but he hasn't started training yet. Since I put it up here, Dad - you ARE doing it and I am doing it with you. Let's pick a date).

Cool down? I am done with my run by 7:30 AM. Sometimes on the weekend, too. So, get out of bed and do it while the sun is not high in the sky. Or, you can join a gym or do it on the treadmill, like your daughter does from mid-November until early March, six days a week.

3) "I am too tired."

Ahh, my favorite one. Why not get another hour of sleep and still feel sleepy the rest of the day? How about, forgo the hour of sleep, wake up groggy and start pounding the pavement? About two minutes into that, you are AWAKE! Good morning! And it lasts all day! How would you feel if I told you that you can feel alive all day long? Well you can. Workout in the morning and forgo the "snooze" button.

Those are the three excuses that I think are pretty darn lame. I am thirty years old and I weigh the same as I did in eighth grade. Do you want to know how much? Send me an e-mail so I don't sound like one of those self-righteous status updaters on facebook.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A New Eatery

You have to pay attention to the commerce in your city when you like it a lot. I don't know how my friends completely missed the big Italian restaurant that just opened in between the Starbucks and Ocean Grill off the square. It just opened this past week.

Always excited to try a new restaurant, I went there on Tuesday night. Now this is the difference between Cleveland and Madison (I know I have mentioned the differences before). In Cleveland, there would be an hour and a half wait. And a zillion people in front of you with those pagers that I haven't seen since I moved. Because the ambiance of this place was very, very chain like. I give it a thumbs down. Sorry, Francesca. But I like your name.

The food didn't taste so local to me. It wasn't very busy. There just wasn't anything special about it. But, I am willing to give it a second chance. When I am dining on a square that serves as the largest farmer's market in the country, I expect all of my food to taste like it came from them.

Madison Locals do not like chain restaurants. However, I think it will attract people. Like the folks I see every Saturday, walking a half a mile an hour, eating something with food coloring and a hairdo from 1987. But not the gray haired lady I see gardening in her linen pants at 6:30 AM, or the guy I see training his puppy to swim in the bay. You get the picture?

The service is always questionable when a place first opens up. After waiting for quite some time for the server to come to our table after our food was delivered, my dining partner asked her, "You busy?" in a nice, friendly manner. Her reply: "I, I .... I don't even know what's going on..." She was a nice gal who would serve herself better at a coffee shop as a hippie barista. Don't get me wrong, I didn't think she was bad. I think she was overwhelmed with the place being new.

Good Italian food is hard to come by in Madison. I am sticking to Lombardino's or the most romantic, cozy and tasty Italian place - Osteria Papevero.

My favorite part of "The Isthmus" is finding out the juice on the restaurants. Who is going out, who is coming in, what's good and what's bad.

Now - has anyone noticed that promising looking spot across from Marigold? It is going to be called "Merchant Market?" It looks like it will be an urban market with a wine bar and cocktails. Sounds good.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

La Fete de Marquette and More

**Non-Madison residents, Please e-mail me a photo of a bike rack near your home/work.

In the past few days, I was taking in some local stuff. As for the annual (I believe 52nd?) art fair, you definitely have to be in the mood for the crowd. I saw some nice artists - there's no way to avoid it when you have to walk from my home to the drug store to pick a prescription up.

I saw "Cyrus" at Sundance. Although not a very long movie, there was something "slow" about it. I like Jonah Hill a lot. There are plenty of men will you tell they like Marisa Tomei. A lot. However, real acting talent isn't challenged enough in this film. And the movie certainly had me thinking quite a bit about the capabilities of a child destroying a relationship between a parent and a lover. Does it really happen? Can it happen? My main thoughts were leaning towards a sense of relief.

I enjoyed a Burlesque show at the Majestic. Sorry - I didn't dress up in fishnets and such, but the sword swallower was very impressive. An entertaining night.

And with the overwhelming amount of things to do around here, I had to decide on one of three things at the end of Thursday: La Fete de Marquette, the community pool or a concert on the square. I chose La Fete, which included a free meal/beer for Willy Street Co-op members and a ride on the antique ferris wheel. On the top, you have nice views of our dome and the city skyline. What a gorgeous view it is. The one thing I will tell you about La Fete de Marquette is that I must have missed the memo about babies having to be carried in clothe carriers by your male partner (if your partner is male). Had I known, I probably would have bought one and put a fake baby in there with some dreads and a little scent of patchouli and called it a night.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Best Restaurants in Madison

I love going out to eat. It's something I do regularly. For a small city, we are spoiled with a lot of really good spots to dine. Here are my recommendations:

Best Pizza:

-Greenbush Pizza
Although not that old, has the feel of an institution. I have even heard a New Yorker say "This is the best pizza I have ever had!"

Best Sushi:

Best Outdoor Seating:
-Lake Vista Cafe
Overlooks Lake Monona on the top of the Terrace. You feel like you are sitting on the deck of a boat and the food tastes fresh.
On the top of MMOCA, has views of State Street and the Capitol. Also uses a lot of local food. Gourmet!

Best Breakfast/Brunch:
I am not a real "breakfast" kind of person. I enjoy a bowl of cereal and a piece of fruit, but if you want to go out for brunch, there are a fair amount of options.
-Sardine (same owners as Marigold)
Overlooking the lake, It has more of a "big city" ambiance with a menu of fresh options.
-Sophia's Bakery & Cafe
A little, tiny room where you have to sit with strangers at mismatched tables/chairs. I am guessing Sophia is a grandma who loves to bake, but doesn't have to do it for a living. Excellent muffins.

Best Italian:
Osteria Papavero

Best Thai:
Lao Laan-Xang

Best Ethnic (Nepalese):
Himal Chuli
A "hole in the wall" on State Street.

Best Medditarranean:
Mediatarranean Cafe
Great falafel. I just wish they were open for dinner, too.

Best Bars:
Plain cool all around

Natt Spil
Always attractive people (but cash only) Good food, too.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Plan B (Not the Birth Control)

Summer still has not officially started. For those "downers" who like to say a month from today that it is the "end of the summer," try to reevaluate the "half full" theory. Tomorrow is the summer solstice. And tomorrow is June 21st. Fall equinox is September 22nd. Keep that in mind the next time you try to say that it is the "end" of summer two months out.

This weekend in Madison, I enjoyed watching a little bit of the "Annual Pirate Days" on Lake Mendota. I sat at the Memorial Union at UW which overlooks Lake Mendota. The place was crowded with all ages of people drinking beer, working on their laptops, eating ice cream and spectating the Hoofers Sailing Club event. (I hardly watched. I was flapping my gums a little).

I ventured over to the inaugural "Fruitfest" hosted by - Plan B. I mentioned it in a blog posting from December. My friends know I love to go dancing. The "clubbing" venue is slim around here, although there are a few. I love Plan B. If I was able to psych myself up to do it every weekend, I would. But I manage to get there about once a month.

"Fruitfest" was an all-day block party hosted by Plan B with some vendors, beer, and drag queen performances. (See photo). Once the block party ended, we went in the club for some all night dancing. This is a LGBTG club. I am straight and I do very occasionally get hit on. I don't care one way or the other. It's all good and fun. Straight men and women go there as well (obviously).

It's what you would expect: dance music, grinding and the likes. The bartenders are dressed quite skimpily. On Saturday nights, it is always jam packed. The drinks are completely reasonable. I am happy to open a tab and I have never had a pricey bar tab at the end of the evening.

But let me warn you, the next day usually results in a headache and some "oh my Gods." I can't wait to do it again next weekend.

Now - here is a homework assignment:

I would like to gather photos of bike racks in other cities. Can you please e-mail me the first bike rack you approach? I am going to do a posting on it in July. Please e-mail photos by June 30th. Thanks in advance!

Sunday, June 13, 2010

A Summer Weekend in Madison

Technically, summer has not yet started. But the weather is right and the kids are wrapping up with school. The days are long. And the pool has opened.

Last week, I blogged about Ride the Drive. I am scared of biking. (Yes I admit it. Actually, I am traumatized and have a fear of being hit by a car). I chose to do it on foot with my dog. And, it's no surprise that the event was a huge success. The six mile loop was blocked off from traffic and people of all ages biked, walked, skated and ran through the city streets. I wish I had brought my camera. If I am going to describe the successful venues around Madison, it is time to start proving it.

Two problems. Actually three.

1)If you are a runner, then you understand that it is an inconvenience to run with anything. Let alone a camera.

2) My camera is an antique. It should be collecting social security. (Oh - and I am a horrible photographer).

3) Since I was about 18, I was always avoiding looking like a "tourist." Even in my own city. So the camera doesn't help.

Anyway, I did take photographs and it worked out well.

You can see the amount of bikers in town, based on the bike rack I photographed. You know how I always praise Madison for being "biker friendly?" This is any given rack around town.

I attended the annual Marquette Waterfront Festival in Madison. I blogged about it last summer. An outdoor music festival brings a melting pot of people together. While Madison is not the most diverse city, this is one place where it appears slightly diverse. The photo of the tables and tents was taken there - along the shore of Lake Monona. The "Dime a Dozen" photo shows some dread headed hippies, watching "The Handphibians" - the Brazilian-style percussionists. (These spectators are a "dime in dozen around here.) You get the scent of patchouli, bad body odor and lots of kids with two moms/two dads. Nothing wrong with that. I heart Madison!

I visited New Glarus, home of the world famous, "Spotted Cow" beer. My mom finally likes drinking due to this tasty brew. New Glarus is also known as "Little Switzerland." Everything there is pronounced like "Scnitzelheinen this" and "Schtuberazian that" (I totally made that up).

After co-hosting a party involving karaoke, I finally did my solo act of Frank Sinatra's, "The Lady is a Tramp." I worked the stage and hammed it up a bit. I only have about four songs I can do. So if I ever get a second job as a lounge singer, you'll be hearing four songs over and over again. We also did "Janie's Got a Gun." How come people still tell me they have never heard of my name before? Do they know who Aerosmith is?

It was an event filled weekend. The market is my weekly ritual (see photos) and they had emergency vehicles on the square yesterday for demos. The kids could see the sheriff's car, fire trucks, police dogs and the likes.

Who knows what's happening next weekend in Madison, but I am sure it will be festive.

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Progressive Madison and its Healthy Lifestyle

Madison, Wisconsin. A healthy, liberal and economically stable city. My parents were visiting this spring. My Dad said to me, "As soon as I got off the beltline, runners and walkers were everywhere. Just like you're always talking about in your blog."

Runners and bikers do rule the roads here. I wish I could do more to promote the city of Madison. It is continuously voted "best place to live." How are people missing this?

I feel like there is a certain level of sophistication that is necessary for people to "get Madison." Like, if you aren't well read, then you probably don't know anything about Madison. Whereas you probably don't know anything about Austin, then. Because they are supposed to be very similar.

Take the guy who I met in Montreal. An extremely wealthy businessman. How do I know he was very wealthy? Besides the fact that he told me what he does for a living, google works, people. (Why aren't more people taking advantage of this? Because so many Americans are lazy, that's why.) So Mr. Wealthy man from Buffalo, New York and I are talking. He is very smart. That's for sure. But he is not refined, so to speak. First, he tells me that he travels a ton for work, but has never left the continent. When I asked him why, (he obviously could afford a trip to Australia, if he wanted to,) he says, "I don't know." Ok - that is so weird. But ok. Then he asks in a condescending way, "What is there to do in Madison, Wisconsin?"

Where do I start? Concerts, outdoor films, an ironman, the USA Cycling 2010 Collegiate Road National Championships,skiing, boating, hiking, running, biking, great food, waterfront festivals, jazz concerts, umm... there is a University here and the country's largest farmer's market. So why does this guy not know that? Why don't more people know this?

It appears that if you don't move to large cities like Chicago or New York, you're not worthy. But I would much rather be living in my Madison condo down town, paying the exact same rent I was paying in 2003 living in Boston. And have money left over to enjoy my surroundings. Because there is actually a lot more that I enjoy in this little city than there was in Boston.

So I suppose the secret remains. This is one of the best cities to live in. Yesterday, I watched thousands of people walking by for Breast Cancer. And right now, I am heading out to ride the drive. Guess who else is going to attend the next Ride the Drive in this "small town?" Have you ever heard of Lance Armstrong?

Thursday, May 13, 2010

How to Stay Skinny

Now there is the "Skinny Girl" this and "Skinny Bitch" that and the "Skinny Italian" and the list goes on. The sociologist in me says healthy eating is related to class.

I can tell you my secret on staying thin. Several years ago, I started including a minimum of five fruits and vegetables a day. When I moved to Madison and had more local resources, my diet improved. For me, my vegetables and fruit intake does not include apple sauce, marinara with mushrooms, jelly and the sort. I also don't eat "Walmart" type produce where the strawberries look like they are on steroids. Most of my requirements are raw or close to it.

Here are some examples of what I put in my mouth every day:

-Raw peppers (yellow, green, red)
-2-3 clementines
-Organic Blueberries (they don't have to be organic. Just not sprayed).
-Organic Strawberries
-Steamed Chard
-Steamed Broccoli
-Raw Spinach
-Raw Mushrooms

These are just some examples. I eat the spinach out of the bag from the farmer who grew it. I don't dress it. I don't steam it. I just eat it. The same with the mushrooms. I just eat it out of the bag from the person who grew it. Who I met. The mushrooms have been transported from his farm to the stand where I have purchased it. It's quite simple. No sprays. No flights across an ocean.

I hate shopping for clothes. I would much rather wander an upscale grocery store. And I would much rather spend my money on good food for my body.

Many years ago, I babysat for a family whose three year old told me, "If you can't pronounce it, you shouldn't eat it." I totally agree.

My freezer has ice and fruit popsicles from when I had a sore throat. That is it. I don't even buy frozen food any more. Or canned food. It's just not fresh. I don't want that in my body.

So, I am thin and I have the fresh food and five fruits/vegetables intake a day. Of course, running 25-30 miles a week helps, too!

But here is another secret. I eat a lot of junk, too. Certain times of the month, I love a Dairy Queen blizzard. After miserable hangovers, I love a stuffed crust Pizza Hut pizza. I live in Wisconsin now, so cheese curds rock! But I just don't feel well eating that stuff all of the time.

I thank my friend for posting this article in the "Huffington Post" because this is what made me decide it is an appropriate topic to address. Even people who have the means to afford better quality (yet more expensive) food choose not to.

Madison being the healthy city that it is makes it easy for me. I don't know how I got here. My mom never liked "fake food." We never had margarine or fake sugars such as diet sodas and she always made everything from scratch. As good as Annie's frozen Mac & Cheese is, I just can't bring myself to eat it. And it's organic. It's just not fresh.

In the "Huffington Post" article, Joel Salatin, an American farmer is quoted, stating, "Most of us have a more intimate relationship with our hair cutter than we do with our farmer." This is an ironic statement for me because I do not have a hairdresser in Madison. However, I do have my favorite farmer stands.

I know I am a minority. Instead of spending your money on a pair of jeans for your expanding waist, how about buying some local fruits and vegetables and watching your waist shrink and your risk for heart disease decrease? Come on, Americans!

Sunday, May 9, 2010

Stop Photographing My Meal

Real food. Food obsession. Food blogs. Food Photographs. Long before I read the article in the NYT, I thought about writing about this craze. This thing with social media where people like to photograph their food and then upload it online.

There may be something self indulgent about it. But it has become a real epidemic. A big hipster trend. Not only am I going to go to my farmer's market and tweet and blog about it, but I will also blog and tweet about the CSA I belong to, what I prepared for dinner on my food blog and then, upload all of these colorful photos! (Or, if I want to be even cooler, I can do black and white photos).

So, I don't think there is anything wrong with the sharing of recipes and comments. That is how we all get new dishes, right? The food blogs are nice and helpful. It's the photographing that is a little strange from time to time.

I made a salad nicoise a few weeks ago. Asparagus, potatoes, lettuce, olives, lemon juice and olive oil, tomatoes - all real food. The next thing I know, I am putting it out on the counter and my dinner is being photographed by my friend. Can't we just eat it? Was my salad nicoise uploaded online and exploited? Without my permission?

I have discovered various meals I have ordered on various websites. The hipster movement seems to think it's just plain cool to photograph a real natural and colorful meal before digesting it. It's an art form. And a trend.

Sitting in a recent panel presented by the Social Media Club of Madison a blogger in the audience mentioned a wonderful blog she follows written by an attorney who has a food blog. I thought she was implying that it is something different or unique. Maybe I read her wrong I am not sure. But, a food blog seems to be the thing to do - I have thought about it many times. Viewers probably enjoy it immensely and it's a great tool - but it's not unique. (Ummm... have you heard of "Julie and Julia?" I am just saying).

So this every growing popularity is probably good for the economy. Just think - camera businesses make money selling special cameras. Hipsters like to make sure everyone knows that it is "organic and local," so the farmers are making money. And so are restaurants that are serving sustainable ingredients. It's a win-win.

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Most Infamous Blogger in Madison

I was curious to read about Ann Althouse when I saw the latest Isthmus come out on Thursday. Coincidentally, I had been performing some queries on NYT online on The University of Wisconsin and Ann Althouse continued to pop up. Not long after that, she was rated, "Madison's #1 Blogger" on the cover of "The Isthmus."

"Who is this woman?" I asked myself. How come I am not reading the "number one blogger in Madison?" I will tell you one reason - I can't keep up with her. According to Craver's article, she blogs up to a dozen times a day. Now, many days, I don't even make it to facebook, due to my workload, so forget keeping up with Althouse.

So I went to her blog. And I liked it. And then I went to review her on the NYT website. Although in the article Jack Craver writes about her, he depicts her as a "right wing political blogger," from what I gathered from her blog in the past hour or so, she is right wing, but she isn't that right wing. C'mon, kids. Madison is leaning to the left so much that we are tipping over so her opinions probably do sound ultra conservative to the UW student who wrote about her.

Her profile alone has been viewed over 365,000 times. She is a law professor. A brilliant woman. With an opinion. Who lives in a small city. (Madison, that is). Do I agree with everything our "famous blogger" says? No. But she seems to take a current event, pick it apart, pull out the gossip and share her point of view. She is humorous.

I have a hard time staying on top of the current events. I try to. I tell myself every morning, "One international news article to discuss with a friend." I start to read it and then get lost in the story about the Sarah Palin hack case. I start to wonder if she works out or if that baby daddy made a lot of money posing for "Playgirl." "Focus, focus," I tell myself.

Althouse likes the current events but she likes the "juice" as well. She puts the "fun" in what could be a dreary article - some posts had me LOL and some are as short as a line (tweet, tweet) and still manage to bring over 50 comments.

What engaged me right away are the photos that Ann has of the indoor of her refrigerator! (Just like me!) and the outdoor photos of Wisconsin (Just like me!) Oh - and photos of the farmer's market (Ok, you get it!) When does this lady work? According to the article, she only teaches two courses.

But this infamous Madison blogger has one of the biggest blogs in the country - all a mile away from me.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Typical Saturday in Madison

There becomes a time when I feel so, so lucky. And it is when it is warm out. And I never, ever, ever take it for granted that I live in such a liveable city. That so many people are unaware of. What a gem of a city I live in. And I just feel so incredibly lucky to live here.

What other place can you wake up in the morning, run to a bike path, greeted by other runners, no worrying about cars to dodge, walk to the largest farmer's market in the country, meet up with friends/family, spend quality time together, walk down a main shopping area with mostly local shops, run into your boyfriend, walk less than a block, sit down (outside) for a local meal at an ethnic restaurant and almost feel like you are in another country, then walk to an Italian film at an annual film festival, overlooking the lake?! (Sorry for the run-on sentence, but I couldn't help it).

Take the dog for a nice walk. Go home to eat vegetables grown by a farmer who I have met who transported the food solo. Who is the only person who handled the food start-to-finish. No sprays. No "steroids." No preservatives. Lots of fiber. Lots of vitamins. Lots of real food.

Walk a few blocks to meet a friend for drinks. Walk her home. Walk back up to the square to meet more people. It's 1:00 AM and I have not been in a car all day.

No taking the car out. Ok, so maybe I woke up the next morning with a horrible headache. But it was worth it.

I am so lucky. There is such a quality of life here. And I was walking the dog after work today. As I approached my home, I heard my name. My friends were walking to dinner. And before I knew it, I had spontaneous dinner plans. Without ever having to get in a car.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

My Pet Peeves

I have so many of them I don't know where to start. A few years back, I was reading the local paper in Cleveland, when I came across an article my uncle wrote about his pet peeves. I am not stealing his idea. I am always writing in my subconscious and thinking about how to communicate my pet peeves to people. Why not express it here? I enjoyed reading his article. I thought it was funny.

The interesting thing about this blog posting is that I realized that my pet peeves have changed since I moved to Madison because some old pet peeves have vanished. Below are my current annoyances.

1. I am going to start with the expression; "I can't believe." It's a stupid expression. And it is more annoying when people on facebook write "I can't believe my baby is three today." It seems that every mother posts that on their child's birthday. What part can't they believe? Is there some scientific phenomenon that I am not aware of? If I said I can't believe I am thirty, that would be a total lie. So much has happened in my life that I can totally believe it. Memories get blurry and life moves fast. A day can easily slip away. Believe it. Your kid is three. Nothing unbelievable about it.

2. Runners/walkers who are 100% oblivious to their surroundings. Yesterday morning, as I ran past a girl who was walking on the bike path, she decided to do one of those 360 degree turns and started to turn right into me - completely unaware that I was passing her. Maybe she needed to use a turn signal with her hand?

3. "We did good" sounds so uneducated to me. It's "doing well." You all know I hate that. We learned that in second grade.

4. Oh - this is my favorite one. The "I am so busy" phrase. It's all relative. We all have 24 hours in one day. You choose your priorities. I hate when people make excuses stating they are "too busy." What I feel like you are really saying to me is, "It's just not my top priority." So maybe say that instead.

5. People who ask me stupid questions referencing the demise of my parent's marriage. Mainly, "Do you talk to your dad/mom?" Just because they had a divorce doesn't mean we became estranged. I am a big believer that you can blame both people in any break-up. It takes two. So I blame them equally and talk to them equally. (I don't really blame them for anything - just that they probably married too young and my theory proves to be true here.)

6. When apostrophes aren't used properly. Specifically, when used with age and years. There is nothing possessive about it. I am now in my 30s. Why are you including an apostrophe there? There is nothing possessive about years, as far as I know. It is not the 1990's. It is the 1990s.

I hope you learned something today. If nothing else - what my pet peeves are.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Etiquette of Social Media

With all of the technology going on these days, I think I need to lay the laws of the "dos and don'ts" of social media and there are many of them. My good girlfriend founded the Social Media of Madison, of which I am on the board. As an ever-growing phenomenon, let's take a look here.

1)As mentioned previously, one thing that I don't agree with is using a photo of your child as your profile picture on facebook. That is not you. That's your kid.

2) It is completely inappropriate to "friend" clients on facebook. Any professional relationships you have should not see photos that your friends tag of you at a dance club with a budlight in hand. Or a status update of your "announcement" that you hate your boss or hate your competitor. That is incredibly tacky and classless. (I suppose it is ok if you have them as a "friend" on a privacy setting....)

3) Do not make cryptic tweets/status updates on facebook. People who do that are craving attention. Updates such as, "Horrible news. What am I going to do?" doesn't disclose your update. It discloses that you want people to become immersed with your secret. Lame. (Now, if you post a picture of a baby and your update is "exciting day," we can take a wild guess...)

4) What is this whole thing about trying to gain 797 friends? I am working hard all of the time to minimize everything in my life. Including my friend list. Unless we are truly friends, I don't need to be friends with you. I already got rid of about sixty-five people. I am not trying to be mean. I just find it uneccesary and pointless. If I am not looking at your photos/blog/updates, you probably aren't looking at this.

5) Phantom blog readers. I know you're reading this. You tell me you are. But you don't comment. And then you send me an e-mail. A blog's comments section is for that. Your comments. Not my inbox in my gmail account.

6) People who use their work e-mail for all of their e-mail. Talk about abusing your time at work.

Get the hint? Now use in out in cyber world.


Monday, March 29, 2010

Random Acts of Kindness

I liked Madison for a lot of reasons before I moved here. As I walked around the square this afternoon, I remembered the most enticing thing about the city - the outdoor activity and respect that outdoorspeople receive. Unlike any other U.S. city I have seen, bikers were kindly being dodged by traffic at a busy corner.

I walked to a law firm to drop something off. I didn't feel like tying my dog up. A stranger offered to stay with her and watch her while I went into the building. I kindly asked the building's security guard to make sure the stranger didn't steal my dog. (I don't know why he would. He would have given me a ransom and returned her..) I felt safe about the whole thing. I knew before I left my house that I could have a stranger watch her, if need be.

Walking back, so many people complimented by "pretty dog." If you passed me, you would have thought I was walking with a friend the way an unidentified woman walked with me and talked about what a great dog a golden retriever is.

And a few weeks ago, as I sat at the bar a block away with a book and tears streaming down my face, a stranger approached me and asked me if I was ok. She gave me a hug and offered support.

Sometimes I can be private and sometimes quite public (like on here). It's nice to know I am never alone, if I feel the need to lay a shoulder on a random stranger. Madison locals are your friends. And I am touched by them.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

My Life

It's very difficult to blog and not get personal about the intricate details. I have had a very interesting past few months. Someone told me today, "You do things that people dream of doing, but never actually do them." I was lied to in one of the worst ways. Discovered embezzlement. Was stuck between a rock and a hard place. Consulted with my boyfriend's ex-girlfriend. Broke up. Cried for a day. Loudly. Alone. Without wanting to see/talk with anyone. Attempted a date. Did an intake for two and a half hours. Ran into ex ahead of time. Felt badly about everything. Confusing several men. Went to an open house where I saw a hot guy I sort of know. Still wonder why more people aren't exercising and going to therapy. It is so easy to eat a minimum of five to eight raw fruits and vegetables a day, why aren't more people doing it? Behaving badly (not illegally, mind you). Wondering why more people stay in lousy relationships. Get mad at people for lying to me. Ok - just an fyi - I am not mad at all. I am sitting here smiling and looking forward to a prosperous week.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Go to Therapy, Already!

I am really mad. Because I am the one who did all the work and now I am the one who goes back for more work. Do you know I have been to about eight or nine therapists in my short lifetime? This is not because I am some demented person with an abusive past. This is because history repeats itself and I am very cautious.

For work, I met with a delusional, pathological liar, who claimed to have worked with high-profile, public figures. But their facts were all wrong. Nothing was adding up. I knew immediately that they were sick in the head. "Get some help, girl!," I wanted to yell at her. Instead, I am the one seeking help. This just doesn't add up.

And if one more person tells me, and I am quoting here, how I "Opened up their eyes," I think I am going to puke. Because this isn't my job. It is not my job to steer people towards the "Road of Help."

Do you have an issue with your parents? Do you feel the sudden need to identify with a religion? Do you belittle your loved ones (most of you who read this do and don't even know you do it). Are you obsessed with things - perhaps food/work/putting down your lover? Not over your ex? Confuse your newest break-up with your narcissistic ex? Have an inappropriate relationship with your mom/dad? Helicopter parent? Work twenty hours a day? Expect too much from yourself/others? Married your first "love?" Don't know what the hell love is? Married the first/second/third person you slept with? Dating your therapist? Dating your lover's therapist? Sleeping with many women/men? Decided you're suddenly gay? Compulsive liar? Living with an alcoholic? Dating a gambler? cohabitate with someone you don't really love but tell yourself you do? (And don't realize it)...

When I wrote that everyone needs therapy, everyone does, indeed need therapy! I am healthy. And this is because of therapy. I am not addicted to work. Or really anything. I have a healthy routine of diet and exercise. Healthy relationships and a great balance of work and life. I know how to live. I never dread where I am in life. Or how I lived my past. I don't have any regrets.

Someone sent me an e-mail about a year ago, accusing me of "not being happy" because of a lot of my postings. Wow! What a great analysis of me! You deserve an award. And, by the way. if you want to criticise me, that is what the "COMMENTS" section is for.

Am I happy? I don't have to prove that to anyone. Anyone who needs to prove that they are happy probably isn't. I am just really tired of doing the work when nobody else is. I had a friend who vented to me non-stop. For some reason, nobody wants to leave me alone with their problems. I finally gave up and said "You know, I am so sorry you are feeling this way. It sounds painful. But I am not a professional. Have you thought about going to one?" I repeated this each and every time they complained to me. Each and every time. I never changed the wording. Did they go? I don't know. I moved. We lost touch. I doubt it. They didn't sound like they wanted to change things. Some people sound very happy having their problems. There are some people who like the drama.

But most healthy individuals I know have gone to therapy at some point in life. And if you haven't gone, then I advise you to go. There have been times where I don't know what I am even going to discuss until I sit down. But there is always plenty to talk about.

Sunday, February 28, 2010

Losing My Religion

The College of Wooster requires that every senior complete a year long senior thesis. I wrote mine on the dichotmy of religion in a marriage. Always having been interested in the strains that are related to an unsuccessful marriage, this was an interesting topic to me.

Having found a copy of my thesis last month, I began reading it. I haven't read it in a while. In a nutshell, I discovered that although you and your spouse may have been raised with the same religion, your faith in your marriage can still be problematic. This is based simply on the fact that one may have had been more conservative than the other.

What happens when religion is forced upon you? I am an easy sample of this. You turn against it. And it was never really "forced." I just remember my first day of Sunday school. Too well. And begging my mom not to make me go. Dad wasn't in the picture in that memory. Dad never made me do anything when it came to religion. And when the folks split up and Dad said to us, "You know, I don't care who you marry. If he isn't the same religion, that doesn't matter to me." I always knew that.

I was in someone's house last week and observed their "funny Jesus" paintings in a couple of spots around the house. In one, he is playing soccer. They mocked it, leading me to believe that they thought it was goofy. "Did you both go to Catholic school?" I asked them. "No. But we were raised Catholic and have decided not to have any organized religion."

So what happens when you have to go to religious school against your will? You don't want it. You resist it.

I have two theories on people who become more religious as young adults:

1) They never had a sense of strong identity so this is it for them.
2) They have addictive personalities.

Too much of anything is not good. We all know that.

I was turned off from religion at sixteen. My sister told me I would outgrow it. By eighteen, when asked what religion I was, I would simply say, "nothing." I haven't practiced anything. I make christmas cookies. I have been to Easter brunch. I have been to a Chanukah dinner. I have been invited to Baptisms. I have never been to a Jewish Bris and I never will. There is something so incredibly wrong with inviting people over to watch a baby have his you-know-what chopped and then eating a spread of bagels and cream cheese. It is archaic, barbaric and wrong in so many ways.

My parents were both raised Jewish. Obviously, one more than the other. I learned as an adult that my dad's maternal grandfather went on to convert to Catholicism and had three children with his Catholic wife - all who never knew their father was born a Jew.

The Jewish population is very small. So small, in fact, that I have often times met people throughout my life who will tell me that they have "never met a Jewish person before." I am lucky I was always aware of this. And I thank my parents for exposing me to all walks of life. Because if you grow up in say, Beachwood, Ohio, where probably 90% of your classmates are Jewish, it may not be until college when you hear someone ask you that. I had someone ask me about the horns. I was prepared. my parents raised me well. My whole life, I have always been conscious that we are a minority.

More sophisticated people seem to be familiar with religion in general. They are aware of the facts of the Jewish people. Just like they seem to be aware that their Muslim co-worker may not be eating during the day because of Ramadan. (Something else I always knew about it - thanks to my Mom, who had a Muslim friend growing up).

Yes, the people who are sitting around here as I type, reading the Sunday "Times" know what a Bat Mitzvah is. They may have never been to one. But they know. Just like they may also be aware that a Hindu wedding may be partially in Sanskrit. But this is not the majority of Americans.

So, fourteen years later and I still do not associate with a religion. Or feel the need for one. And I refuse to marry someone who cannot support my anti-religion because that just won't work. Fortunately, most of the hipsters around here are all categorized as "agnostic" on facebook.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Rules, 2010

When I wrote "Everything I Learned About Relationships" in October of 2008, I wasn't kidding around. I wrote my eight rules that I try to follow when it comes to dating. I may want to add some here and there, but I am reflecting, as I did in March of 2009.

Well, now it is almost March of 2010, and I am reflecting back on my rules.

Let's reflect. Number one is about not living in the same city as your parents or your partner's parents. I still feel strongly about this. And maybe it is because I tend to date men who have bad relationships with their parents. I don't know. Look at the way he treats his mom. That's how he is going to treat you. Unresolved issues with the folks? That's a red flag.

Number two is about not dating someone who has been married before. It is ok if there are no kids in the picture. I am currently reading a non fiction book written by women who date men with ex wives and children. They all have the same complaint - she is still in the picture, even though they are divorced. Let's think about this: You are in an unhealthy marriage with children. You fight a lot. You already sleep in separate bedrooms. You get divorced. You still see each other and communicate all of the time because you have children together. You are still fighting a lot. You are still sleeping separately. What changed? Not much, other than it is ethical to date other people and you do not have to live under the same roof. (Do you sense a little skepticism of the marriage institution here?) The starter marriage is still ok with me. Practice for the real thing.

Number three states not to date someone with kids. See above. Strongly agree. There are too many wacko ex wives out there.

Next: Friends first. Definitely. Many nights, I will see what the girlfriends are up to first.

My fifth rule referred to not allowing men to do manly things for you. I am slowly failing at this. There was something really sexy about watching my boyfriend with the electric drill....

Rule six refers to not dating a workaholic. I think this is huge. Statistically, workaholics have psychological problems. They are ignoring their problems. They don't take care of themselves and tend to have health problems and strained relationships. Does that sound sexy to you?

Number seven is my rule referencing the importance of dating someone your own age. I think this is important. You tend to be in the same place.

My eighth rule is my favorite. See if your "ideal day" matches up. All this really means is that you have the same interests.

I am going to add another rule. Number Nine is an obvious one. He needs to be very sexy. He has to workout. He has to be toned/tall/dark/handsome/whatever you find sexy. You know why? Because if all you like is his personality and he starts to get on your nerves, at least he is still attractive to you.

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Work Obsession

I am really slowing down on the postings. I apologize. I really plan on working on improving. I have become someone that I never thought I would become.

(Anyhow, I was saying... I have become a little bit too obsessed with work and my career. My workaholic friend actually called me for career advice. After talking with her for about an hour, she told me I was very helpful. Last night, she said to me, "I did everything you told me to do and it worked!" I am thinking to myself, "Did I even tell you to do anything?" I mean, I was honored that she came to me, but I felt like she is my "rock" when it comes to anything work related.

My sister said, "You have to stop caring about work so much." My boyfriend said to me, "You're obsessed with work." Now, it's really not that bad.

There are a lot of pieces to this. I think the biggest one is that people see I am a big networker. And networking gets you places. It is a huge asset and a career builder.

All I can do is laugh when I see how I have gone from the "newbie" in my office to becoming the sole representation of our entire territory in just one year. I laugh because it's all I can do.

I hate people who say they are too busy. And I plan to dedicate a whole posting to that topic. Soon. Real soon.

But now I am going to enjoy my Sunday. My 10:00 coffee with a friend. A 12:00 birthday brunch. A 4:00 real estate advice/home staging that someone asked me to do for them. Oh yeah, and then I have to finish my taxes....

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Does Having Kids Make You Lose Your Sense of Self?

After noticing on facebook that too many people use their child's photo as their profile picture, I have had enough. Is this you? Or is this your child? I am confused. I know you think they are the cutest production of all time. But, you are still you, aren't you?

And now I see that people are posting their pregnancy tests on facebook. They are actually uploading the positive pregnancy test photo. What has social media come to?

I get all my juice on facebook. I don't need to have any conversations with my girlfriends on if they had their baby or what they named it. I can see it all online.

But a profile picture is supposed to be you. I know some people sometimes have their spouse in it. Or a nice landscape. That's ok with me. And I don't disagree or think it's wrong to have a funny photo or a huge cartoon of Bart Simpson. And as I am doing my research for this posting (yes, I actually make sure I am accurate on here), I totally missed doppelganger week on facebook. I have been told I look like a lot of people. But, let's be real here. I am going to go with Anne Frank on this one. There. Done!

So what happens to a young adult when they have a child? Besides the fact that their whole life can change. No more late nights at a bar, stopping for "one more" on your walk home and having a slice of pizza. Sleeping until 9 or so. Out the door with five minutes notice to meet a friend. Yes, everything changes. But I certainly wouldn't want to lose my sense of self along the way.

It appears when parents use their child's photo on facebook that they are losing a little bit of their own identity. Would you turn in a resume and put your child's name next to yours? And their e-mail address, too? Is this is a "two for one?" If I have you, I have to have your kid, too?

Or maybe, people who do this feel a stronger identity as a parent. And must identify with that now. It makes them feel meaningful. Which is sad. I am curious on your thoughts on this one.

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Heavy Women Vs. Thin

I met someone this week who is around my age and probably weighs fifty pounds more than me. I didn't even think about it much. Until she was nasty to me for no reason. I asked myself, "Am I being rude"? "Did I say something offensive"? (She did) After the conversation ended, I realized what her problem was: she was mean to me because I am thin and she is not.

So I am telling the story of the mean girl to some people this morning and they beg to differ. But I cannot tell you how many times I have been in this situation. Yeah, so studies show that thinner women may have a better salary, make heavier women feel worse about their bodies, get more attention, yadda yadda. Why would they want to be nice to us?

It is slightly infuriating to be the victim of insults and put downs because the other person is so insecure with their own body image. I have had people tell me that they notice their "heavy-set female co-workers" are extra condescending to them on days when their thin bodies are more noticeable.

So I ask the sister psychologist "Don't you think it makes sense that someone I meet in a "competitive" setting who is around my age and heavy is going to be a b#$%h to me"? "Yes, absolutely", she replies.

Just this week, I received a message from an old friend. The last line stating, "PS you look nothing like Arlene, you skinny b*tch. (love)" (Arlene was some heavy-set Italian woman she told me I looked like when I danced in college....)

There is a stigma with skinny. The next adjective following is a bad word. Think Parisian women. I am not bragging here. I am thin. And I don't consider myself a female dog at all. I am caring and compassionate and thoughtful. Here, I will quote my boyfriend, in an e-mail he just sent me:

"I think you're a smart, extremely generous,
passionate, honest, reliable, confident, sensitive and beautiful

Nowhere in there do I see that I am cruel. So why do skinny women have to have this reverse discrimination from heavy set women? Heavy women can tell me I don't understand. Or I have no idea. Or they can't get a date and I don't have that problem. Or anything. But I gained that weight in college. I have been a lot bigger. I am lucky now. I will blog about it sometime - how I maintain a small figure. But not now. So I know.

There was an obese woman at my gym who would never, ever look me in the eye. I am guessing she weighed somewhere around 300 pounds and was maybe two inches taller than me. The whole time I would see her there, she absolutely refused to make eye contact with me. In the parking lot, crossing paths, she would look down. Passing on the way to the shower, the same situation. I can say in the years that I was a member there, she never looked at me. If it was just the two of us, I would intentionally say "hello" and smile. She always looked away. I know why. I went out of my way to be nice. But it's hard when the other person won't look at you.

I am not trying to brag. I just think that all women are created equal. So why be mean?