Sunday, January 30, 2011

A Rich Weekend in Madison

I am so thankful for the concept of blogging. As a person who likes to talk, this has really worked out for me. I enjoyed hearing from friends who voiced their opinion on my last post and I plan to write about it again. The feminist movement still has a lot of growing to do.

I was thrilled this morning when I was thinking about the rich life that Madison has given me. As the weekend warmed up (you know, close to thirty degrees is warm), I was excited to spend my time outdoors. Wanting to stick to my "to do" list, I went cross country skiing yesterday (not a candlelight, but still - we finally have the powder I was asking for). While the Northeast has been slammed with more powdery stuff than they know what to do with, it seems like all we get is an inch of accumulation here and there.

Now, the excitement is that almost the entire country is going to be affected by this big storm coming this week. I am hoping for a blizzard. I just love it!

Anyways - I digress. As I was saying, Madison has offered me this rich life. I feel lucky to be able to have such a healthy, culturally enriching and active lifestyle in this little bubble.

An easy loop of cross country skiing was preceded with a nice trip to the dog park. The plan is to go again next Saturday, weather permitting. Madison has a lot of cross country skiing locations.

Today was another trip out to the dog park and a walk up and down the pedestrian only State Street. Here are my favorite shops in no particular order:

Pop Deluxe
Tellus Mater
Madison Sole (got the cutest bag there today)
Little Luxuries

State Street is two blocks from me. While I walk the dog up and down the street there about once a week, I never take myself (alone). The above mentioned stores are all local and therefore, we are keeping the dollar in our own community, people. (And why are you still shopping at Walmart? Oh right, so you can keep your neighbor's stores out of business and send your dollar overseas).

Anyways - enough about that.

The semi-annual Restaurant Week debuted last week. This was the fifth restaurant week since I have moved here and I have attended five times (shocker). For twenty-five dollars, you can do a prix-fixed, three course meal. We went back to Lombardino's (I can check that off my list) and were not disappointed. When I tell you that every meal I have had at restaurant week is out of this world, I am not lying. FYI - the majority of the restaurants have vegetarian options, besides the obvious steak/seafood places. Rich and thick butternut squash soup, truffled trumpet mushrooms with polenta and flourless chocolate cake topped off with a few glasses of red wine. It was fun and deliciously splendid. (p.s. - anything "truffled" is amazing).

I happen to make a pretty good flourless chocolate cake. And while I enjoyed theirs, I will have to post my recipe. Mine is less bitter and more rich.

There is never a dull moment or a lull in things to do around here. I am praying for a big blizzard with photos! We shall see.........

Monday, January 24, 2011

Post Feminist Movement?

When I moved, I felt comfortable vocalizing about how sexist the cleaning product commercials were (are). I was about eight when I listened to Marlo Thomas rant about those ads, depicting happy women doing chores around the house. And that life lesson was from the seventies. And now it is a new millenium and those commercials have hardly changed. They haven't changed at all, come to think of it.

Watch any commercial refering to dinner, washing your floors, dusting, cleaning the shower, carpooling kids, laundering clothes, baking dessert - you get the hint. The star is always some happy lady.

Newsflash - I am not smiling when I am washing my floor. And any man friend/relative I am close with will also be spotted on their hands and knees, washing a floor. Or changing a diaper. Or baking a pie. My boyfriend cooks. So do my brothers-in-law. And my uncle and his son are the best cooks around. For dinner the other night, my brother-in-law made the entree. My sister made a side. My boyfriend made the salad. My mom and I made dessert. If you are a female slaving away, go on strike and find a modern man, my friend.

How come we have only come this far? The feminist movement came to some sort of halt in the 90s. It's like the feminist, post-modern era happened and my generation thinks the movement is over. But it's horrible. I consider myself very feminine. I am very much into my appearance. You don't have to look androgynous to play a part in this movement.

Who said pink is for girls and blue is for boys? I have decided that I will wait at least six weeks after my baby is born to tell anyone what the gender is in hopes that I don't get any "gender specific" (aka - sexist) looking items.

When you think of the noun "doctor," what do you think? When you think of the word "nurse," who do you see? Can you change that?

The wage gap between men and women still exists. Skinny, happy looking women are still starring in household cleaning commercials (while plenty of men do that job), men are representing scientists and researchers in magazine ads, and here it is, 2011.

If you are reading this and you dress your son in sports paraphanalia and wait on your husband, I want to know why. If you refuse to let your husband do laundry, cleaning, ironing (I don't even own an iron and you cannot tell), please advise. If you refer to yourself as "Mrs. Joe Smith," why?

If you let your son wear a pink shirt, I like you. If you are reading this while your male partner is making dinner, I like you (and him). If you are reading this and your male partner is cleaning/feeding/cooking/baking, I love you even more. And if you are a female and you still have your maiden name (you know - the one your parents gave you - I like you lots. Unless your partner had a really cool name - like an Irish one.) And, if you are a man and you took your wife's last name - I totally approve.

So as I read "Sexual Enlightenment," let me preach that while some things have changed for us women, a lot has not. Even here in my little bubble of Liberal Madison.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Eating Right

After my experimenting, I know that I can (thank God) eat my much loved dairy. However dull veganism sounds to people who are carnivores, to vegetarians, it sounds manageable. And truthfully, it was. Especially in a town like Madison where I was able to find vegan food at the grocery stores I frequent and the restaurant selections, too.

I was hoping to check out The Green Owl Cafe, and I was happy to go there while eliminating dairy. The vegan chocolate cake was the highlight of my dining experience there. Although, the entree was tasty, as well. My vegan dish resembled an eggplant cutlet (yum) and I don't like eating lots of fake meat. The sides (green beans and potatoes) were fresh and real.

Speaking of fake meat, I HATE fake food and learned that any fake food I eat irritates my stomach. Fake food is any product you see at the grocery store that has a million ingredients including (but not limited to): artificial flavors, dextrin, bleached noodles (ie "enriched macaroni), partially hydrogenated soybean oil (ie - you are eating food that has hydrogen added to it so it can sit on the shelf for a long ass time), ammonium sulfate, and any word that you are unable to pronounce. The general rule is if you cannot pronounce it, do not eat it.

A lot of these chemicals have been found to cause heart disease and cancer, among many other health conditions.

The best thing to remember to feel good and stay healthy is to eat how they did in the olden days. Basic fruits, grains and vegetables. For those who claim that "it's cheaper to buy those hamburger helper type of items," I would say, if you eat a lot of that garbage, it's going to cost you your health. I would rather stick around for awhile.

While working on my Madison list of "to dos" I have gone to Plan B and went to the farm in Spring Green, but we have not had the appropriate powdery snow for cross country skiing or snow shoeing. Walking and hiking has been all I have been able to do this winter. I am disappointed in our lack of heavy snowfall. We are historically behind. I am hoping for some tomorrow to help this situation, enabling me to get some cross country skiing in. And next week is the start of restaurant week.

Do I see some snow and Lombardino's in my future?

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Stomach Woes and Winter Wants

I hope everyone had a good Christmas and New Year. There are a lot of changes going on in Madison and while I hesitate to voice my political concern here, I will just say that the majority of Madison proper residents were disappointed with the election results. (Just google it)

Although I am not a resolution kind of person, I learned that I will be making some changes, after a trip to urgent care. Having felt sick for the past six months with various bouts of stomach issues, colds, glucose problems and the such, it looks like I have a diagnosis. For now, I am a vegan.... we will see how long this has to last. (I am not lactose intelorant).

And after three days of going "vegan," I am happy to report that my stomach finally feels right. This is not something I chose, but it's easy enough right now because I don't want to suffer. And now I totally get why my celiac friend is always soooo cautious. The repercussions aren't worth it. Let me tell you.

This was probably onset by mild depression/anxiety. I have had a little depression for over ten years. Running has curved it a lot, but evidently, not enough. At first, I thought to myself, "it's time to move again" (joke).

And in other news, I did have the opportunity to see Madison Ballet's "The Nutcracker," the day after Christmas with my boyfriend. After going with my mom a number of times in Cleveland (before the Cleveland Ballet went defunct due to money problems,) it was nice to see a different ballet perform the holiday performance. The scenery was nice and the dancing was ok. They had a zillion local dance studios with little children incorporated into the production. It was cute, but didn't look exactly "professional" with all the rugrats on stage. It was still enjoyable. And I can't complain when the theater is across the street. I contemplated running home at intermission to grab a snack.

We had seen "Black Swan" the night before, so we had a ballet filled weekend. Creepy, but the dancing was actually better than the live performance I saw (sorry!)

There is a lot to do still, but I have to recover from my stomach problems first.

Here is my "Wisconsin Winter To Do List:"

1. Go to one of the candlelight cross country skiing courses.
2. Go to my aunt and uncle's farmhouse in Spring Green for the day for some snow shoeing.
3. Go to Restaurant Week (Lombardinos or Osteria).
4. Visit Princeton, Wisconsin.
5. Go dancing at Plan B (it's been too long).

And I guess I should add that I hope everyone has a healthy new year and new beginnings. I know it was a hard year for a lot of people I am close to. Keep your attitude up and remember - go to therapy!