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.