Home for the Weekend

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Greetings from Wisconsin, where the temperature is currently a balmy six (6) degrees:

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Six degrees actually feels warm, compared to what it was earlier this morning. I made a connection at the Minneapolis airport where it was -11F without the windchill. That made for a chilly time while waiting for my carry-on luggage to arrive at the jet-bridge.

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The flights were excellent - no delays, and we arrived early at both stops, so that was a pleasant change. It was also pleasant to not have any sleaze-bags on either flight. Here are a few shots from the plane as we passed over Madison. Here you can see the isthmus - Lake Mendota on one side, Lake Monona on the other (the lakes are frozen and snow covered):

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Here's a shot of the capitol building:

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Upon landing, I picked-up my rental car, which was c-c-c-c-c-c-c-collllld. It's not a bad rental - Ford Fusion, and thankfully, it warmed-up quickly. From the airport, I headed straight for a Madison favorite - the Greenbush Bakery.

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The Greenbush is legendary for its great donuts, cheap prices, and for being open "after bar time." The place has the world's oddest hours - they're open from 2:00am until around noon. I was just able to sneak in and grab a donut - and it was delicious.

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After scarfing down that tasty treat, I took the isthmus over to "the beltline" (a bypass), where I headed over to The Endurance House.

While there, I bought a nice thermal shirt and a pair of Saucony shoes. The Endurance House has a foot-strike analysis program and it's really quite interesting. I had taken advantage of a similar program from some folks down in Fayetteville, but wasn't happy with the shoe they recommended. The Saucony's from Endurance House seem like winners - as soon as I tried them on, they felt "right." A quick 5-minute stint on the treadmill proved it - they're comfy. I tried on several shoes - Brooks, Pearl Izumi, Zoot, New Balance, Mitzuno; the Saucony's felt best. I'll retire my current kicks, which have about 800 miles on them. That's hard to believe!

From The Endurance House, I made my way over to one of my favorite watering holes, The Capital Brewery.

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I've been to the Capital Brewery several times before, but am always happy to stop in whenever I'm "in the neighborhood." The brewery had just opened for the afternoon, and there were about 40 people waiting to take a tour. Having experienced the tour myself, I decided to forego the tour and enjoy a Winter Skal.

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From the brewery, I took a stroll past some ice fishermen - these guys are crazy to be sitting on a frozen lake... fishing...

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And, since I was feeling nostalgic, I decided to cruise past my old apartment. I spent 3 years in this apartment, and really enjoyed it. The structure was built in 1931, and was designed from the start to be an apartment building. There are four units - two bottom units and two upstairs units. There's a full basement with laundry and storage, and four garages in the back. Inside, my apartment featured 10-foot ceilings, beautiful hardwood floors (original), crown molding (original), plaster walls, and the world's greatest shower. I miss that shower more than anything... (notice there's an apartment available for rent!)

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I left Madison and headed north to my folks'. I never realized how different the farms are in Wisconsin - they have silos, and red barns, and are generally in much better condition than the chicken/beef farms that litter Arkansas... case in point:

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And that brings me to now... I'm sitting at my parent's house, watching the Golf Channel in HD and listening to my sister's kid make a bunch of noise (he's 6 months old or something like that). There's talk of having lasagna for dinner tonight... I'll have to wait for Culver's until tomorrow.

More to follow...

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Update: 8:45pm

After watching National Treasure 2, we made the obligatory Culver's run for some ice cream. I ordered a small concrete with Andes mint and brownie pieces. After a quick scan of the nutrition guide, I learned that this combination was good for 1,183 calories... and then they goofed-up and brought me a medium instead of a small... so, I ate about 5-6 spoonfuls and gave the rest to my mom. :-) Sorry about that, mom.

I'm so full, but oh so happy.

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The diet can resume on Monday, I suppose. Oh, and it's now -4F with a windchill of -15F.


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