Eek the summer is winding down... here's what I've been up to lately.
Last Tuesday: We took another trip into the Wisconsin Dells -- not to a waterpark, though, in light of both the cooler weather & the recent outbreak of infection at a NY waterpark. So instead, I thought it was time for a visit to the deer park.
I'm pretty sure that I saw the National Geographic article on the deer park... We bought little packets of crackers to feed the deer, which are specially made since deer can't have iodine, apparently. The park was ridiculous -- like some alternate world where natural laws don't apply. It had a petting zoo and two separate enclosures of free ranging deer. Off to the sides of the paths, they had smaller fenced in areas for various rarer species. The deer in the two main areas, though, were either in an enclosure that they could go in and out of freely (to either assault people for food or take a nap, depending) or walking along the paths with the visitors. I was rather excited about trying to pet the deer... my favorite was a buck with huge velvety antlers (which he kept hitting me in the head with as he went after the crackers). Andrew took TONS of pictures.
Afterwards, since we had some time to kill, we checked out mini golf. We settled at a smaller place with 9 holes, since I just wanted to see if I was bored out of my mind or not. Turns out, mini golf is pretty fun -- although I lost, miserably!
Soon it was time to head over to the Big Sky drive in theater -- we sat in the entrance line and watched the sun set -- which was beautiful... it lit up the field next to us, golden & highlighting all the buzzing insects. We'd decided to eat dinner there, so we had not-the-healthiest selection of grilled cheese & chicken strips & onion rings & fries... luckily I had brought some pears along to at least give us some token healthiness. This time we were at the first screen... we watched Wedding Crashers (fun, but predictable), and European Gigilo (gross in parts, but it took place in Amsterdam, which got Andrew excited). Like last time, we got to watch the moon, too (although on the way home, the planets weren't aligned in such a way as to overlap the moon & capitol building... which happened on our first trip back late at night from the theater).
Weds: We waited all day for cable (which was eventually installed, but improperly, which you'll hear about if you keep reading). In the evening, we brought a pesto pasta & fruit salad picnic over to a "park" for an orchestra performance. We sat on the outskirts, since we had a blanket & needed grass, and it was all parking lot in front or already-claimed-green-space. Odd place for it -- although it was called a park, it was really more of an industrial park, basically the parking lot of some businesses. Anyway, the music was lovely, and during the 1812 Overture, they started the fireworks. We packed up and started heading out, but had to stand and watch the last of the fireworks before getting too far away.
Afterwards, we took a random trip to Target (as in, I wanted some new pens & this scarf I'd seen earlier, and Andrew needed to find a birthday card), and then headed home.
Thurs: As the cable wasn't working properly, Andrew called up & asked for help, which was supposed to arrive by 5 pm. That time came and went... So we took an emergency trip to Willy St. Co-op for some sushi making supplies, assembled some rolls, and then had to put them away as the emergency crew arrived. These two guys knew what they were doing, and had everything working before they left. But, we still had OC to watch, so, we didn't really use the cable too much yet!
Friday: Friday kind of got loss in the shuffle. I was in my one week of limbo between insurance plans, & we were playing with the cable... I asked Andrew too, and neither of us can remember what we did...
Sat: Farmer's Market! And then in the afternoon we wandered around State St., looking at retro clothing places, and exploring the shops. I enjoyed the free trade place, & the community pharmacy (where I found a stainless steel water bottle!!)
Sun: There were about 3 festivals going on this weekend, so Sun. early we made it to the Middleton Festival (in celebration of Money magazine or some such publication rating them the #1 town to live in). We participated in the pie & ice cream eating social -- I found raspberry rhubarb, and Andrew went for the safe apple. We looked at the craft booths, weaving around doll's clothes, the beer tent, and families wearing matching "I believe in Jesus" t-shirts.
After, we checked out the Atwood Festival, which was more our speed... Hippie music, lots of environmentally aware people who rode their bikes, political buttons & bumper stickers... People just seemed healthier & friendlier than in Middleton (not to mention that finally we weren't in an ENTIRELY white suburb).
Anyway, the festival hopping was cut short to visit Woodman's for some enchilada supplies & other food stuffs...
Monday: We headed to the Botanical Gardens, which were GORGEOUS. A rose garden, sunken garden, herb garden, Thai pavilion, & green expanses... Around certain flower beds, we were counting over ten monarch butterflies fluttering about at once. Lovely place.
After being in the sun all afternoon, we returned home to clean up before heading over to Ariel's to join her family & Molly for dinner. Amazing vegetarian dish w/ pasta & feta... I'm definitely stealing the recipe =) Talked about eating vegetarian, Apple computers, MHC, ESB advisors, Robin McKinley (and her 23 pairs of Reeboks!), etc... Sad to leave, and know that they're heading back to MHC and I'm not there!!
Back home, Andrew ended up baking chocolate chip cookies (we substituted Kahlua for vanilla, and Andrew did something crazy with peanut butter and crushed peanuts, but it turned out well). And, of course, we watched more OC Season 2.
Tues: We took one last trip out of town... On our way to Devil's Lake, we decided to stop off at Mirror Lake instead. Pretty cool but partly sunny out... so we took out au paddleboat, and explored the lake a bit. Beautiful...on one side we looked at the rock layers, and in general just enjoyed the scenery. We had a snack (yum, plums), and then headed back to shore. The rest of Mirror Lake didn't seem like the place to sit and read, so we headed down to Devil's Lake to sit & enjoy the view & read a bit. So pretty... said my goodbye's to Devil's Lake, till next summer, and we headed home.
Weds: We tried to get up early, and went to Pedro's for lunch. I enjoyed eating outside, but the service was pretty bad. Strange... it was much better in the Dells when it was crazy busy, than in Madison on a very quiet day after the lunch rush. We still hadn't gotten our food, when others who had ordered right before us were LEAVING. And when the food did come, my vegetarian tamales were missing two key ingredients in the filling, and was basically burned onto the plate. Kind of strange. We weren't very sold on the place after that.
Anyway, afterwards we had fun -- we headed to the arboretum, took a footpath that was kind of a dead end, and then drove more into the thick of the area. We walked down a hill and through a park-like atmosphere of various trees spaced along the grass. Eventually we came upon the visitor's center, and then went through the prairie/ savannah spaces on our way to the ponds. At one mucky wetland area, we saw some frogs (one type identified as leopard frogs by some official looking sorts who stopped by and looked at the water level). Lots of green algea on the water, which made the whole scene seem, well, like various shades of green. At the other larger pond, Andrew was saying "I think the other one was better --- TURTLES!" So we saw some sort of water turtle, and then stood together waiting to perhaps see more. No luck, though. Pretty though, blue skies, trees, limbs...
This was also the day of the hurricane suddenly affecting gas prices -- wow, suddenly a 40 to 50 cent jump overnight... Andrew filled up at $2.99, and I regretted that I didn't have him do it the day before when it was at like $2.74. Listening to NPR today, I can't believe New Orleans is, well, gone, even though I never visited so I don't exactly have an image in my mind. I enjoyed one commentator asking, why bother to rebuild, when we usually don't even build a housing complex on a flood plain, let alone an entire city? I'm all in favor of that, because, as was also pointed out, by the time the city is repaired, all the residents will have integrated into other communities. Maybe it's best not to defy nature, and just realize that unless they're really commited to building up the levees properly, that the site should be abandoned in favor of something better... And in further NPR induced rants, why are we driving suv's (and why is the government supporting it through tax break incentives) that get MAYBE 20 miles per gallon, when we have the technology to drive vehicles that get more like 200, 300 miles to the gallon? (At least according to the commentator I heard). But I don't doubt that we could become much less reliant on oil, which would put us in a position of much more control over our economy & environment, if we had the public & government support to make that a priority. I'd rather we had spent the 200 billion from Iraq so far, on making ourselves less reliant on oil... argh.
Anyway, after a quick trip home to clean up, we went to the Comp. Sci. department picnic. It was kinda unorganized, but fun -- and they had Spotted Cow beer! Soon after we arrived, I recognized a woman who I'd met as my tour guide during my visit back in March. Megan was there with her gf, so we talked a bit, and then another woman I remembered, Andrea, was there with her husband. It was great to see them, and talk shop a little. So Andrew & I both knew people to socialize with, and met others. All sorts of interesting characters... And luckily they had veggie burgers!
Back home, it was time for a salad (since there was no vegetation served at dinner), some OC, and dessert.
Thurs: Andrew had some fellowship meeting to go to, so we walked down State St. to the university, and I sat on the lawn and read for a while. After the music playing got a little too religious for me, I decided it was time to migrate to the terrace. I was just reading the paper, when Andrew got out of his meeting. We soon headed back home, running a few errands along the way.
Back home, it was sad because it was like, school really is starting, and I really do have to leave soon... But we decided to have a nice picnic at the park down the street, so we packed up our pesto dinner & set up on the little hill. A couple people were doing some extreme kite flying, so we watched them, and then watched the sun go down. After lounging for a bit, we returned home, and did some shopping at Willy St... their organic produce is amazing... it made a pretty good fruit salad =)
We'd gotten Return of the Living Dead III in the mail, which wasn't as good because it was more serious, but didn't have the storyline or acting to be serious... I preferred the comedies. Anyway, the redeeming point was the fact that the same artist who plays Julie Cooper in the OC, played Julie in RLD3! Soooo strange... and disturbing.
Also started a scrabble game... we'll have to play that online together even when we're at school apart.
Then, to unwind, we had dessert & some more OC =)
Well I guess that's it... this morning Andrew headed off to his first classes... and I can't believe I'm leaving so soon. It's really sad, because, well, I could have decided to stay here... and live together, and go to school together... I guess, I just hope I love being at Stanford enough that I can cope with not getting to see Andrew as much.
Anyway -- more later...