Sunday, August 07, 2005

Time for an update!!

So about a week and a half ago, we took our first trip out toward Devil’s Lake. On the way, we stopped at the Wollersheim Winery for a tour and tasting. The tour was fun – the winery is located on a beautiful piece of land, on one of the few hills here in WI. The guide explained that they used to have rose bushes at the end of each row as a plant-disease indicator. And what used to be a cellar area is now a blocked off cave in the hill. Inside, where they ferment the grapes, there were huge vats… and a cellar area for storage in white oak barrels, which they were very picky about… apparently you can taste the difference in the wood, depending upon where the trees grew… sounded kind of crazy to me. The tasting was fun, and I got a better idea of the distinctions between different varieties. They even make a spiced wine, which was really strong and basically tasted like spiced pumpkin pie.

Afterwards, we headed to Devil’s Lake for a hike. We went up the west side’s trail, which was all up and then all down hill. We took the tumbled rock trail on the way back, and got a good close up look at the purple metamorphic rocks that are distinctive of that area. I was very itchy the whole time… perhaps due to the bug repellant itself. Ick! Anyway, the water looked beautiful, and after seeing the south side of the lake that, at that time of the evening at least, was quite secluded, we decided we’d need to come back.

Hmmm… so last Friday we went to a concert at the union terrace – instrumental hip stuff that Andrew’s into. This guy randomly asked us to guard his table (and his pitchers of beer), in exchange for some of the said beer. Unfortunately, we didn’t realize that the pitchers have deposit charges… so when some guy asked to borrow it we didn’t think anything of it and said yes. Oops… We ended up walking home after the first set – nice evening out! Except again, I was very itchy.

So at some point Andrew decided that something must be wrong because I get itchy all the time and am so busy scratching that I totally miss out on any fun. He looked it up on the internet, read some symptoms of dermographism out, and I realized that he was basically describing my skin. Basically… my skin reacts to any irritation, producing a welt or “weal.” Then my body freaks out and there’s too much histamine or something and the initial welt causes more itchiness so I keep scratching and that can cause more welts… and then after about 25 minutes everything’s normal again as the welts subside. Crazy, huh? Anyway, the past couple of days I’ve been taking allergy medicine as the medical sites recommend, and I do seem… a lot less itchy.

In other news… last Sat. we went to the farmer’s market at a decent hour, and I realized that there really ARE a ton of vendors. Lots of affordable organic produce and ground beef. Yay!

Sunday we went to a play in a park out in Stoughton. We brought a picnic dinner of pesto & pasta, and watched the Outdoor Spaces group perform King Lear. Very low budget, but I enjoyed the refresher, esp. outside in the evening… lots of fireflies flitting about! Too bad they weren’t doing a comedy or A Midsummer’s Night Dream.

Anyway… on Monday we went back to Devil’s Lake for swimming. The south side was pretty busy suddenly, as a lot of kids were there on school buses. Ick. But we still swam, so all was not lost! Pretty nice, but the lake’s bottom is mushy with mud, which is sometimes a tad disconcerting.

Tues. we took a trip shopping, and I got some basics at the Gap… including an umbrella, a hat ($3), leather slipper shoes ($4), and some basic shirts w/ sleeves (which my wardrobe was sorely lacking). I signed up for the Gap card finally… the 20% off definitely was appealing.

Weds evening we had a picnic dinner on the patio, wine & brie included, and then went to the Square to catch some of the orchestra performance. It was Americana themed… odd… but, still an orchestra was playing so I can’t complain. We walked down toward the convention center, and then on our way back, Anna suddenly was there! Crazy to actually find the one person you know in Madison at a crowded affair like that! Anyway, it was her birthday, so she was there with her sister and her sister’s bf. They also had cheese and wine, so we sat in with them and chatted.

Let’s see… Thurs. I think was the evening we took a walk… and earlier I went on a cleaning spree when Andrew was out, and showered, and did my fake tanner (so cool, by the way, that such things are available…) then Friday we took dinner down to the lakeside park for a picnic, and hung out to watch the sun set… yesterday we went to the farmer’s market as usual, and then a street fair, the Atwood Street Fair I think, and wandered around amongst vendors and music, drinking natural soda and eating organic coconut juice bars (from the Willy St. Co-op stand). So afterwards we went to Willy St. Co-op to browse… so cool, because the “conventionally grown” veggies are the minority section there, the opposite of course of most supermarkets. Definitely overpriced through, even on obviously widely available items like Luna bars.

I guess that brings us up to today! We hung out most of the day, and then went on a walk in the afternoon for some exercise. Picnicked on the square on the capitol building lawn, and then went to a theater for some local documentary films. I especially loved the “Trash Days” one – all about the trash generated by the Aug. 15th massive move-in day, when most university kids switch apts. Apparently like 10 thousand apts. are moved in and out of within the space of three days. Crazy! Soooo much waste… iiiiiiiccckkkkyyy landfills…

Hmm… in other news, we’ve been watching Star Wars (in order) w/ one to go. Also Netflixed Evil Dead, which was way gorier than I was expecting. Pretty damn scary, too. I’m about halfway through Moby Dick – I’m warming up to Melville, gradually. Lots of interesting cooking, now that we have sources of Thai basil. And we had another chicken masala night.

That’s it, for now…

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