Monthly Archives: July 2013

A Walk to the Store

I had a hankering for some cookies, and my go to cookie is oatmeal (it has to be marginally healthier than anything with chocolate chips, right?). As I was getting all the ingredients together to bake I noticed I was out of brown sugar. What a perfect excuse to walk to the store!

I live on Old University Avenue and my store of choice is the Regent Market Co-op. I have gone to quite a few grocery stores since I moved to Madison in October of 2012. I have settled on the RMC for several reasons, the first of which is location! It is less than a 10 minute walk from my door. It also has everything I need and nothing I don’t. I don’t waste time deciding from 27 different kinds of peanut butter. It is small, with full shelves. It reminds me of some of the grocery stores that I remember from my semester abroad in Poland. From the front door to the back of the store isn’t even halfway across the parking lot at many stores. It also has a sense of community – most of the time I see the same people working there. For me it is a good fit. When I eventually move it will be one of the things I will miss the most.

The walk there on Allen Street is a pleasant one. It seem like a nice neighborhood, almost idyllic. Someone had a sprinkler out and it was hitting the sidewalk. I tried to come up with something clever and the best I could do was “Those who water the sidewalk shouldn’t be cross if pedestrians walk on the lawn.” Kind of a poorly executed modern day Confucius says. I need more creative exercise.

It has been hot out and I have been trying to keep my apartment cooler. My south facing window, an asset in the winter, has become a liability in this summer heat. I have had to decide between keeping the blinds and curtains closed and letting my window plants suffer and keeping them open and letting all the heat in. But this morning I found a happy medium. I opened the blinds half way and put the curtains behind the plants. By the time I returned from work the area in the light was 90 degrees F but the rest of the apartment in the dark was a cool 85 degrees. I am chalking this solution up as a “win” for life improvements.

Have you improved your life recently, even with something as small as keeping your room cooler?

Website for Regent Market Co-Op here:

My actual dollars per hour

I live in Madison but work in the suburbs. I take the bus because I don’t have a car. I recently had the idea to factor in my travel time when figuring out my dollars per hour, and the result isn’t pretty. From the time I leave to the time I return at night is 10.5 hours. This makes a big difference when I look at dollars per hour. Let’s look at an example

$15 dollars per hour* x 8 hours a day = $120 / day

Now let’s look at it with travel time:

$15 per hour x 8 hours a day = $120 / 10.5 hours = $11.43/hour

Adding in my travel time reduces my $/hr from 15 to 11.43.

What does this mean to me? I know that I would not be riding the bus for fun if not headed to work so it is fair to count it as “work” in my mind. I should move closer to work. If I could cut my time away from home from 10.5 hours to 9 hours (8 hours of work + .5 hours lunch + .25 hours to and .25 hours fro) my new $/hr would be:

$120 / 9 hours = $13.33/hr. Moving closer to work and cutting my commute would be like giving myself an almost $2/hr raise!

I would like to move closer to work. I will keep my eye on Craigslist to see if I can sublet my apartment and find a new one closer to work.

Have you ever cut your commute time?

*not my actual wage

Madison Trust for Historic Preservation

I went on a tour for the Madison Trust for Historic Preservation this morning. I had picked up a brochure earlier this year at the library. I always thought it would be a good way to learn about my new town but I never got around to it. My aunt is somewhat active with historic architecture in the Milwaukee area so when she decided to visit me today I thought it was a good idea.

This tour was of the Westmorland neighborhood. It was a suburb back in the day but is now firmly in Madison. It has houses ranging from about 1916 to the 1960s if I recall correctly. Some of the notable houses were a Frank Lloyd Wright, a few Sears & Roebuck mail order catalog houses, and a Lustron house. The last one was new to me. It is a house made out of enameled steel. The outside has porcelain and never needs painting.

Lustron House)
Picture from Wikipedia

Apparently if you want to hang something on the walls you need a magnet. But the roofs have lasted 50 years+ without a leak.

The neighboring house from my childhood home is a Sears house and it still has the original copper(?) roof. It is a big brick house while the Sears houses on this tour are smaller. I also learned that there were over 400 models of Sears houses to choose from. Very interesting.

These tours change from week to week. Most are downtown and last about an hour. I learned a lot, walked a bit, and now know more about the city. You should check it out. They have a web presence: Madison Trust for Historic Preservation

Art Fair on the Square 2013

I went to the Art Fair on the Square here in Madison today with my Aunt. There were some very expensive pieces there! There was also an Art Fair off the Square that featured all Wisconsin artists. Some of my favorite things were the bottle cap furniture pieces and the clocks made out of serving trays. There was a lot of different work in many mediums.
I wonder what it costs to be a vendor on the square? My aunt was talking to a hat seller and she said that she had by trying to get on the list for 13 years! It was busy when we were there. There were a lot of people looking, but I didn’t notice as much buying.
I am glad I went once but I don’t think it is something that I will need to do again.