My awesome hubby, RPK, managed to score a job in one of the greatest cities in the U.S.! We also managed to snag the rental house of our dreams. It’s across the street from the lake!

This is what we’ve been doing for the past week:

The capitol building in Madison. I heard that it is, room for room, identical to the U.S. capitol...haven't confirmed yet. State Street runs diagonally through the grid of streets downtown and right up to the capitol. Only feet, bikes, cabs, and buses are allowed. (This is another road.)

This place (Mother Fool's) is a few blocks from our new home. Everything in Madison is dirt cheap with the exception of this place for some reason. It's good coffee but nothing mind blowing. It's unfortunate b/c it's very cute. It will just have to be a once a week visit.

This is our new street! Our home is the bottom floor of the red brick home on the right. That's Lake Monona on the left! The house is a historical landmark called the John George Ott house.

This is the entrance to Lazy Jane's. We were in Madison for 6 days and ate here 3 or 4 times. That's incredible as I can be a bit hypercritical of cafe's similar to ones I have worked in but we already adore everyone who works there. Good thing it's a few blocks from our place!

also Lazy Jane's

We also went to 2 different botanical gardens: one on campus and the other across the lake.

Totally delicious sandwich shop! Great whole wheat pita bread. (Something I never thought I'd say.)

click to read about it!

Bye Madison! See you in July!

If you want to see more of my possibly boring, little photos of Mad town, go to my Flickr!


May 26, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Me and Mine. 7 comments.


I am officially married to my best friend in the whole wide world!

photography by Bill McCullough


I want to spend a while on a good post about nothing but the wedding so I will come back to that later. Right now, I’m a bit more interested in some…remembrance or out loud reflection, I guess I should call it.

We got married in my home town of Austin and I am really happy that we had another trip there after accepting the job offer for Madison. It turns out that our trip and stay there actually did the opposite of what I was expecting.
It made me much more excited about Madison.
I did not find myself thinking, “I really wish we could have ended up here again” or “I am really going to miss this city”. (O.K. I was thinking about how much I miss the weather.) Unfortunately, I was thankful to not be going back. Of course, my whole family is in Austin and so are a few very great friends, so that is the given thing I will miss.

I have a handful of friends I have known for, going on 10 years. Unfortunately, in this trip, I realized that a few of them are exactly what I don’t want in a friend at this point in my life.  I used to party and drink and I was a complete social butterfly. The more friends the better. (I realize now you need a lot when they are so unreliable!) It was fun and perfect for me while I was young and responsible for no one but myself.
I am a grown woman now. You may not know by looking at me but I am educated and reasonable. Mature, considerate, and polite (usually). Most importantly, I am dependable and I treat people the way I want to be treated.

A few examples of why I felt relieved to be leaving Austin and a few old friends behind me:

One of these older friends is an alcoholic. I knew I was taking a big risk involving her but I wanted to know that I gave her an honest shot at proving that she could act like an adult that cares about others. I spent an entire year preparing myself for her absolute worst possible behavior. Luckily, what I witnessed was not as bad as the worst thing I could think of but was nonetheless, incredibly ungracious. First, I had to give special instructions to my bartender about how she should be served “extra light handedly”.
(Frankly, the simple fact that I even had to bother with this is bullshit.)
It ended up not making a difference. She was high on pills, drank what she could, passed out in a room, was rude to my photographer, insulted me, and just did whatever necessary to make sure that someone was paying attention to her at all times. I am no longer interested in someone like this. I loved her once but she made sure that most of my wedding day was all about her and no one in their right mind would want to be friends with someone like that. Lucky for me, the other real friends involved ARE good friends and they did everything they possibly could to keep this all in check and far from my mind and worries. They babysat her is what they did. They babysat a grown woman so she didn’t hurt any feelings or piss anyone off. And she ruined my wedding day for them. It was a gift to them from me as well as the other way around and they did not get to enjoy it the way they should have.

( ↓↑ what NOT to do if you are invited to a wedding ↑↓ )

I had another old friend drop in later. She originally R.S.V.P.d on behalf of her and her boyfriend (who WAS invited) and said they would be attending. She actually showed up later, in the middle of the reception, and brought another person who was never even invited as if it were a B.Y.O.B. barbeque or something. Really?! I don’t know any sane adult who would think it would be o.k. to just drop in to a wedding uninvited, do you? I later saw her boyfriend had shown up also. She came straight from work in her work clothes because she didn’t want to miss it. O.K. Look, that’s a sweet thought but if that is your plan, you tell someone. Tell the bride, “Hey. I would love to say I can come but I will have to work until the middle of it. Would it be acceptable to drop in to say hello later during the reception? No problem? Great. Is it acceptable to bring other people who aren’t invited? No? Okey doke.” I was baffled at this behavior. Honestly stunned and speechless. What do you say when sweet people are senseless?

I was also very sad to see that the east side of Austin has been taken over by bars. That’s where I would have lived. That was where I wanted to raise a family. For a little while it was really growing with families and community groups and healthy little indie businesses. Now it’s just a neighborhood of bars. I’m really getting a creepy Starbucks type vibe from it. I also feel that friends in Austin would expect me to raise a family in a way that I won’t. I am surprisingly old-fashioned and that doesn’t sit well with a lot of hipsters.


Having said all that, those were the WORST things about my wedding and I think that’s pretty damn awesome because really, none of those things are very bad at all compared to some of the horror stories I have heard.
So really? My wedding was god damned PERFECT.
That’s right. PERFECT.
I’ll tell you all about everything that made it so perfect soon.  I am still regaining my energy, battling allergies, preparing myself for lots of travel and more major exciting news in the next 3 months!


April 15, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Me and Mine. 3 comments.

It’s Official!

My fiance has accepted a tenure track offer AT….

*drumroll please!*

University of Wisconsin in Madison!

We officially know nothing about Madison so if you know anyone or anything, pass it on! ANYTHING is helpful! People, places, blogs…anything!  I am really excited! It looks beautiful, it’s really safe, and there’s plenty a reason to knit! There’s fishing (which I LOVE!) and lots of water (which I also LOVE)!

I am excited to be starting this new chapter in our lives. I feel like we are going to be really happy there even though I NEVER would have thought that is where I’d end up. I DO miss Texas. I miss everything about Austin. The people, the attitude, the art, music, and all around goodness that people have in their hearts there, cut off blue jean shorts, bare feet and mexican food. I REALLY miss the heat and the sun and the swimming but I am growing to enjoy the change of the seasons. I find snow quite beautiful and I suppose you can’t have both heat and snow at the same time so I am just happy I am getting to experience it all. Madison’s summer is supposed to be beautiful. It’s very hard for me to comprehend, after 26 years in Texas, that the winter can be below freezing and you can still have temperatures in the 80s in the summer. I’m looking forward to it.

So after my break you can look forward to the following things:

How to be a master packer!

Master the Egg video tutorials
(I will teach you how to cook the perfect egg 8 different ways and the differences between them. You can please EVERYBODY! I will also teach you how to flip like a pro. You won’t believe how easy it is!)

Demystifying the fitted sheet

Fascinators tutorial

Baked Pear and Jam Summer Pastry

Spanish Encrusted Pork Tenderloin Medallions
with fresh verde sauce and pico de gallo

My Best Mexican Black Beans

Migas (Yes. Real ones. Remember folks, I have cooked them in 5 of Austin’s most prized places.)

wedding stories and photos and more!!!

See you soon!

March 22, 2010. Tags: , , , , , , , . Me and Mine. 5 comments.

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