20 December 2005

Blame the weather

Okay, maybe the weather did affect my initial response to Madison. Ironically, we spent the "stormy" day going around to the old, familiar places. (Fghting my way through pelting snow certainly did feel familiar for Wisconsin!) The next day, when the snow and wind let up a bit, we did more touristy things, like the capitol, State St., and Frank Lloyd Wright's Monona Terrace, not to mention Vilas Park (which happens to be an old, familiar place as well). Dogs didn't seem to mind either way, but I was definitely more appreciative of the city in better weather. Still, it was a bit big for me, a bit jarring contrasted with my memories of an intimate locale where we walked everywhere. My memories seemed violated somehow. Even Eagle Heights, for as much as it was the same, seemed very distant and apathetic.

I should point out, however, that this city seems to have it all. Under other circumstances, I can't see anyone not wanting to live here. Of course, I'm also biased by the university. UW-M will always be to me the epitome of an institution of higher learning. My childhood at this school formed the basis for everything I believe about scholarship, intellectual pursuits in general, and the privilege of learning. I'm perfectly happy living with what, at times, feel like delusions.

We would also like to acknowledge and applaud Madison's commitment to off-leash dog parks! There are a number of them around the city, and from what I could gather, they are well maintained and managed. I was very happy to pay a day-use fee (in lieu of an annual fee) for this privilege. We can only hope people appreciate these parks and use them responsibly. A friend of mine hates these places because she thinks "pet people" don't mind their dogs responsibly; I hope that's not the case--it wasn't our experience at least.

Anyway, Madison marked our last project site. So, our work being done and weather not really getting better, we headed home. Time to get back to the studio regardless. And there will still be spring for more travel west... (Besides, this hotel thing is not in our budget, and it's making me broke.)

Incidentally, the picture of Madison above was taken during an earlier drive through the city (on the way to Oshkosh, I couldn't wait, so we stopped ahead of schedule), that's why the weather looks so nice. We have more pictures of Madison and southern/central parts of Wisconsin here.

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