Friday, December 16, 2011

My neighborhood

Here are few quick snaps of my neighborhood I took this week with my camera phone while out and about:

Our backyard

View from one of the many bike paths near our house

Goodman Community Center on the bike path behind our house
Train tracks and bike path at the end of our street
We live in a very hippy-meets-hipster-meets-blue collar worker neighborhood
 Therefore we hate the Republican governor
Home sweet Home. We live on the first floor of the house
We'e going to LOVE the front porch (and swing!) come spring
Beautiful stormy morning on the lake

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Yarn bottles update and thoughts on Madison thus far

As promised, here are pictures of my finished yarn-wrapped beer bottles. I ended up using two beer bottles and one wine bottle for the project. I had three different colors of yarn so I did three bottles. Pretty simple. My colors are pretty similar to those in the last inspiration link I posted. I gravitate towards neutrals in everyday life punctuated by small pops of color and that was definitely reflected in the skeins of yarn I had lying around.

The project ultimately ended up being super easy and quick. Although I think the yarn would have adhered a bit better with a hot glue gun rather than my Elmer's like I mentioned in a previous post. But all in all, not bad for a free, easy DIY.

Aaand now for the heavy stuff... I kid. Sorta.

I realized this morning that Saturday will make three weeks I've been living in Madison. How has the time flown by so quickly?! Madison feels familiar yet still so new and undiscovered at the same time. I've gotten to know our quirky little neighborhood quite feel I think simply from the fact that Dean dog and I take multiple walks a day. I've used the bus system a few times and so far, so good. It's nothing like Philly. All of the bus driver's I've had have been so helpful! They've offered me directions, advice on living in Wisconsin and helped me understand that transfers are free (!) here.

Meeting other people hasn't been quite as easy of a transition simply because without a job and no real network to speak of I'm just starting at zero. And the scene in Madison seems to be somewhat limited to SAHMs and Singles Ready to Mingle. M has been great about including me in a work event or two and going out of his way to find things for us to do. I'm hoping to hone in on some activities (and therefore a community of folks) I might want to join soon.

Though I don't think there are a whole lot of us twenty-something, stay-at-home, non-mommies (fur babies don't count here I think) out there... it's no longer 1955. Most women who don't work tend to have children. And most women my age are out there in the workforce or in school. So the whole making friends at the playground or in the preschool drop-off line doesn't apply in my case (And yes, I'm aware of the gendered nature of my comments. But this is my perspective and experience. While one could argue the economic recession coupled with the rise of young hipster parents has led to a surge of stay at home daddies, women still perform 90+ percent of child care duties in the country. That's the way it is. Anyway, I digress...).

Crossing my fingers I'll find a job soon. And not just for the monetary benefits it will bring. Human interaction is nice too! But lest I sound like a whiner, I will say that I recognize how lucky I am to have this option. And I will try my best to make the most of my free time. i.e. there will be more DIY projects ahead!

Monday, December 12, 2011

DIY Yarn Wrapped Bottles

Alternate post title: Excuses to drink more!

I saw these cute little yarn-wrapped beer bottles on Apartment Therapy a couple weeks ago right after Thanksgiving. Now that we're more or less settled into our place in Madison I wanted to give this cute little craft project a shot. Since moving to Wisconsin our alcohol consumption has increased significantly so I have plenty of material for these types of DIY projects.

I can we're drinking a lot more without batting an eyelid because our Philadelphia alcohol consumption was so low that I'm not worried by our current increase. It was so darn inconvenient to buy beer or good wine where we lived in Philly (especially without a car) that we pretty much just stopped drinking altogether. M would have the occasional beer at a hockey game but that was about it for us.

Wisconsin, not being a state originally founded by Quakers, doesn't have such restrictive drinking laws in place therefore allowing us to buy the occasional six-pack at the grocery store. That combined with renewed access to cheap-yet-decent wine via Trader Joe's ensure that not only will my bolognese sauce currently simmering away in the oven contain a hearty dose of vino, but that I'll have plenty of recyclables just begging to be transformed into cute little DIY projects.

Hooray for drink!

Now onto the craft idea. Below are a few pictures and links to yarn bottle projects. I'll post pictures of mine once they're finished but I'm currently stuck on my first bottle because of my lack of glue gun. My substitute, Elmer's School Glue, isn't quite as user-friendly as I'd like it to be in this case. It's a little tricky getting the yarn to wind up the neck of the bottle without leaving obvious gaps... folks with glue guns shouldn't have this problem.


Friday, December 9, 2011


I took a quick snap with my plain ol' "not an iphone" camera phone while walking the dog one morning last week. This is Lake Monona. It's three blocks from my house.

Love :)

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Good-bye Philadelphia

Just under two weeks ago we taped up the last moving box, loaded our (terrible) rental car up with last minute "have to take this with us" items, strapped in the pets and said good-bye to Philadelphia forever. Forever sounds so definite but in reality we're not likely to move back there again. Two days of driving- logging 17+ hours in the car- and we saw something to this effect:

Welcome to Madison
(pop: 233,000)

So here we are in Wisconsin! Never in all my days did I think I'd ever live in the Midwest, let along Wisconsin... but thus far Madison is proving to be a charming little city.

Why did we leave Philly, home of the cheesesteak, water ice, oh and apparently liberty and freedom? M got a job offer that was right up his alley and too good to turn down. You see M originally moved to Philadelphia for graduate school and I followed him there the next year. He was a PhD student at one of the universities in Philly until this past summer when we both realized that he wasn't happy in his chosen field and consequentially we weren't happy as a couple either. The thought of three or more years of his unhappiness and daily frustrations (he was about to start his third year of studies) and I was ready to beg him to leave... but of course it wasn't that simple.

I'll spare you the details suffice to say that we've had a stressful past nine months and we're thrilled to be finished with that chapter of our lives.

But I'll miss Philadelphia. It's people and food and row homes and nightlife. The gritty side of the city that we all as city dwellers disparage out loud to one another at cocktail parties but secretly love. After all that's what makes us city folk.

So we've said good-bye to the City of Brotherly Love (there's a misnomer if I've ever heard one) and hello to America's Dairy Land. I have a feeling we're in for one heck of a ride. Oh and did I mention that winter is coming to Wisconsin?

Stick around. It'll be fun times for all.

Friday, October 7, 2011

Who is Mrs Q?

About a year and a half a ago I stumbled upon a new blog (as I'm apt to do) that really got me thinking. I was in the midst of my fellowship work (I'll be posting on that soon and the impact it had on my life) and was consequentially VERY interested in school food, childhood hunger, federal nutrition programs and the like (still am, just not working in that area anymore).

That new blog I found was very much in its nascent stages at that point but some super dudes/dudettes in the child nutrition/child hunger arena had discovered it's author and her anonymous blogging about school lunch and it was starting to gain a following.

Fed Up with School Lunch: The School Lunch Project was the brainchild of "Mrs Q" an elementary school teacher in a large urban city who decided to eat school lunch every day for a year and journal the process.

Those of us who were already involved in the child nutrition/child hunger community knew about the poor quality of school lunches and knew also that for many children from low-income households- that questionable school lunch could be the best meal, if not the only meal, they eat all day.

I'm not going to lie. I was a bit annoyed with Mrs Q at times. I already knew school lunch was awful and I was a bit full of myself (as those of us in the social justice community can be at times. It's a problem I'll be the first to admit it. AND the subject for another time). I rolled my eyes every time she talked about choking down another nasty bagel-dog and had a bit of a holier-than-thou attitude. "I'm working in DC on important anti-poverty policy initiatives and I have it all figured out" (that was my attitude at times I'm ashamed to say. And it wasn't just directed at Mrs Q. I definitely needed to get of my high horse/soap box combo. Perhaps it was a rocking horse made out of a soap box?).

But I admired (and still do) the amazing risk she was taking in blogging undercover about the less-than-stellar lunch menu and lunch policies at her elementary school.

And I was thrilled when she became not just disgusted with the food itself but an activist wanting to change school food for the better. On top of already being a public school teacher in an underfunded district working with children, the vast majority of whom received free or reduced-price lunch, she was now taking on the deplorable state of school nutrition.

Well fast forward to the present day and "Mrs Q" has just come out of the closet. No, not in the sense that she's announcing her sexuality status. But she's revealed her real name (Sarah Wu) and gone on several talk shows/news shows to share her story and her passion for reforming school food (not just lunch but school breakfast as well).

She's also published a book! I've ordered it (wanted the hard copy not just the kindle e-book version) and will post a review once I've thoroughly devoured its pages (pun intended). I'm predicting its going to be pretty awesome.

Hat's off to Mrs Q/Sarah Wu! You're one brave lady and I think you rock! Keep up the good work.

Thursday, October 6, 2011

Occupy Philadelphia Protests

So a lot has been written and shown in the media over the past week or so related to the Occupy Wall Street protests going on in NYC and the related protests in other cities around the country. Today is the beginning of the Occupy Philly protests. I thought I'd share a few snippets I gleaned from various sources.

From the Daily Pennsylvanian

From the Daily Pennsylvanian
Occupy Philly's website:

Quote from Mayor Nutter who appears not just to accept but also approve of the movement- or at least the underlying sentiments:

Ways you can support Occupy Philly: Donations of foodstuffs, cookware, tarps, etc are requested.

What's your take? M and I were talking last night of how this movement feels reminiscent of the Bonus Army during the Great Depression and the sit-ins of the Civil Rights movement (I'm using the term reminiscent loosely here of course as neither M nor I were around for either of those two eras)... Our curiosity is piqued to see how this all plays out. I hope the energy from this movement all around the country lights a fire under President Obama and the Dems to push through some legislation and major changes our country really needs.

And that's the end of my politicking. I promise.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Inaugural post

Why start a blog? Because everyone is doing it of course! Well, that and the fact that M keeps telling me I really need to find a creative outlet for my energies. I'm Lindsay. I live in Philadelphia with M and our two crazy wonderful (but still crazy) pets. Mild-mannered office drone by day, I hope to use this blog as a space for self-expression and to let off a little creative steam. 

I envision this blog being one part Suzy homemaker (think recipes and apartment decorating), one part writer looking for a creative outlet and three parts I have no idea what will happen. Let's just see shall we?