Fish Out of Water

Musings and observations about life from an East Coast native now living on the Left Coast in the California State Capitol since 2004. This fish has made her home in Madison, WI (7 years); Portland, OR (2 years); Las Vegas, NV (7 months); Middlebury, VT (3 summers); Marne-la-Vallee, a small town east of Paris, France (6 months); Middletown, CT (3 years); and Marshfield, MA, the fish's coastal hometown 40 miles south of Boston (17 years).

Location: Sacramento, California, United States


Madison Trip

Mr. E and I have spent the past couple of days revisiting some of our favorite spots around Madison, which is where we met when I was finishing up my PhD and he was just about to start his MBA program. Our main reason for the trip this weekend was to run in the annual Crazylegs Race, which was held on Saturday morning.

Saturday 4/25
The forecast included rain, which luckily didn't occur, although the clouds and wind kept the race-time temps quite chilly, and we were both glad to have long sleeves for the 8K run that goes from the Capitol along Langdon Street, up the curvy Observatory Hill, down past the Lakeshore Dorms towards the beginning of the Picnic Point path, curving back along Old University Ave, and finally heading up Breese Terrace to end on the football field at Camp Randall.

Mr. E had picked up our race bibs and info the day before at the Kohl Center, where he got a great photo of Bucky Badger:

After the race on Saturday, I headed directly back to the hotel while Mr. E made a slight detour to local favorite Mickie's Dairy Bar to pick up some of the famous apple and blueberry crumble coffeecakes as a post-race treat to share:

Once we got cleaned up, we headed off towards Capitol Square to peruse the few remaining Farmer's Market stalls and purchase some additional baked goods for later. It was only the second weekend of FM, so there weren't too many vendors still around by the early afternoon. Of course we also had to stroll through the Capitol Building and rub the nose of the badger statue (outside of the Governor's Conference Room) for good luck:

The Capitol is such a pretty building and has a lovely dome. I was also struck by what was lacking at the multiple building entries, as shown in the photos below -- no security screening! Quite different from what I'm used to at the Sacramento State Capitol.

From the Capitol, we wandered down State Street and made a stop at the new Red Elephant candy and coffee shop before eating lunch at Noodles & Company, where we took advantage of a BOGO coupon offer for Crazylegs participants. A few shots of State Street from each end, beginning at the Capitol steps and ending at Library Mall:

After some shopping at The University Bookstore, we checked out some of the renovations and changes at Memorial Union and University Square, and then headed back to the hotel to relax a bit before meeting up with friends for dinner at The Great Dane at Hilldale Mall.

Sunday 4/26
I used the Fitness Center at the hotel, overlooking Lake Mendota, and enjoyed my 30-minute brisk walk through parts of Auckland and Wellington, thanks to the fun programming on the treadmill! I finished off with 30 minutes of yoga in a sunny corner of the Fitness Center and was very pleased to have such a lovely morning.

We stayed at the newly renovated Edgewater Hotel, which is where Mr. E worked in the dining and catering department when he was an undergrad and where we had our wedding reception. The hotel is literally built right on the edge of Lake Mendota, and we could hear the water lapping the shore outside our windows:

We met another friend for brunch at Brocach on Monroe Street and then went to Union South to meet up at noon for a 100-minute campus walking tour. I'm so glad that Mr. E had made reservations for the tour today with the beautiful and sunny weather, as we would not have enjoyed it nearly so much on Saturday afternoon! The difference is clear in this shot (below) of the campus end of State Street, during the middle of our tour, compared to the similar views from the day before that are much greyer (above):
We had just enough time after the final stop on the tour to hoof it back to the Chazen Museum of Art (formerly the Elvehjem Museum prior to the 2011 expansion) to join a 2pm docent-led visit, which ended up lasting 75 minutes and encompassing pretty much the entire museum, both the original building and the new wing. It was very interesting to see how this institution had approached the expansion and integration of the old and new portions, especially since we've recently seen two other art museums undergo similar changes (Crocker in Sacramento and Isabella Stuart Gardner in Boston).

After fetching the rental car from its spot on Monroe Street near our brunch venue, we came back to the hotel to rest our feet a bit and do a bit of computer work, including a lovely Skype session with Mom. To round out the evening, we went back to Monroe Street for dinner at Bluephies and then returned to campus for drinks and a few games of pool at the Fluno Center Study Pub, another old favorite from our first years together as a couple:

Monday 4/27
Mr. E had to schedule a work conference call at 11am today, but we still managed to fit in a run (10K) through the Arboretum this morning, a request I had made as we were planning our trip. The weather was again beautiful, but both of us were definitely feeling a bit tired and sore, so the post-run stop at the new Barriques on Park Street to pick up coffee and a peanut butter, granola, and fruit breakfast wrap was definitely a good motivator to keep us going! The original Barriques on Monroe Street was the site of Mr. E's and my first "non-date" in January 2002, so it will always have positive memories for us even though we're not as fond of its current renovated incarnation.

We're planning to try Graze on the Capitol Square for lunch before Mr. E has to leave to drive back to Chicago for a 5pm conference call while I hang out for a few more hours here in Madtown prior to my flight home to Sacramento this afternoon. Mr. E will be flying home from Chicago tomorrow, and I'm sure the kitties will be happy to have both of us home again.


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