I seem to recall, around this time last year, writing a similar post about my adventures in my beloved Madison, WI. This time (over the weekend of 10/13-10/16), I was back in town for a board meeting; doesn't it sound terribly impressive that I serve on the board of my super-awesome graduate program at the Bolz Center for Arts Administration?
I do have this habit of coming to Madison in the fall, when it's pretty much the best place on earth, with crispy fall New Englandish air and more arts, culture and amazing food than you could want. And friends, let's not forget those (more on them later). I choose to conveniently not wax poetic about Madison in mid-February (my last trip there when it rained/sleeted and there was a huge, jittery protest going on as the state had a non-violent civil war).
This trip involved a board meeting, true, but mostly the weekend was about art, football and food. For art, we enjoyed a unique project called the Farm Art D/Tour, a 55-mile loop through the Wisconsin countryside with random artworks and "culture stands" placed at intervals along the road. It was amazing, more so when I managed to get ahold of the wheel and thus prevent myself from getting carsick in the back seat. Coincidentally (and familiarly) my friend Jen (my compadre for the Grand Colorado Adventure) was in the front seat navigating as I rounded sharp curves. This time, however, if I'd gone off the road, I would have run into a corn field, not over a cliff to our untimely deaths.
Here is one of my favorite photos from this adventure:
We also visited some artist studios and later in the weekend, a dance/theater/multi-media/haunted house/installation piece that was indescribable, but cool.
Football was awesome as well, especially since we trounced the hapless Hoosiers, and the UW Band looked especially awesome.
And the food. Wow. Madison is a on a local food binge these days, or maybe it's just the friends I hung out with. But we ate well, from cheese curds to salted chocolate ice cream to Jen's incredible tacos that featured microgreens instead of lettuce. I wonder if they even sell microgreens in Arkansas.
And speaking of friends, it was a different group this time. A few of my fellow alums, one I'd never met, one of a different generation, and the occasional interloper from Germany/England who added some color commentary to our adventures. But it was still great, because for some reason, I feel safe and comfortable with these friends. There's not a lot need to censor myself, which I have to do a lot in my public life. And we all had that "go-with-the-flow" mentality that is so essential to extended visits; I didn't feel like I was imposing when I spent 4 nights on my friend's couch.
I also got some work-related goodness as well, but that's not for this forum; just suffice to say it was another chance to realize that, hey, I might know what I'm doing, and I might be appreciated more than I think.
It was another great trip.
Of course, waking up to this view probably impoved my outlook on life considerably: