Category Archives: Middleton

Walking on the Water – Lake Mendota in the Winter

Today while I was waiting the two hours for my bread dough to rise I decided to take a walk. The temperature was around 30F and that is pert near the best winter temperature there is in my book. I headed to the lakefront as it has been awhile since I have been down there. I saw the ice fishers and decided today was a beautiful day for a walk on Lake Mendota. I left from Marshall Park (techinically in Madison) and left at the Middleton Boat Landing near Captain Bills and Harbor Athletic Club. I took few pictures below:

Sun over the Trees

I like this picture; the texture of the clouds appeals to me. I took this from the lake. There are a lot of mature trees right on the water. I think they would help the property values quite a bit. Continue reading

A Very Cold Monday

Today was a very cold day. Temperatures reached -18 F in Middleton with wind chills well below that. As I write this it is currently -15 F with a wind chill of -36 F.

The temperature in Celsius

The temperature in Celsius

The temperature in Fahrenheit

The temperature in Fahrenheit

This cold weather was predicted and last Thursday my employer sent out an email stating that we could take the day off if we felt it best. They also stated this day could be made up throughout the week, we could use Paid Time Off (PTO) or we could take it unpaid. I decided to stay home today and I will take the day unpaid.

As soon as I knew it was going to be this cold I decided I wasn’t going to go into work. Any time the weather is described as “life-threatening” I regard that as a sign to only travel if necessary. I did however have to decide whether or not to use a PTO day or not. I eventually decided to take the day unpaid. My first reason for this is because I can make up the shortfall using overtime hours later. My second reason is that I only have a finite number of vacation days and I they are very valuable for me. Our policy is written to discourage using unpaid days off to extend vacations. This was a chance to have an extra day off using an unpaid day with the blessing of the company.

I knew that I didn’t want to waste this day so I made a list of things to accomplish or at least work on. I did some studying for my next insurance exam (see my Goals page). I put away my laundry and did my dishes. I also watched a movie (The Good, The Bad, The Weird). More importantly I spent minimal time on Facebook, Reddit and the like. I felt like I had a productive day. In the end I was very happy that I decided to stay home.

I will feel this day off in my next paycheck but I will survive. I have a nice cushion and this January is a 3 payday month. Would you have taken the day off in this scenario?

I recently went to the National Mustard Museum. I wrote a bit about it here. I wanted to share a picture:

National Mustard Museum

Wearing this would have been a horrible summer job!

I am a mustard eater after going to the museum. I have a bottle of stone ground mustard in the fridge to eat with pretzels. Just goes to show that you never know if you will like something until you try it. There are bottles of mustard from many states and countries. And for a price of free you really can’t go wrong.

You can find out more about the museum and shop here.

Have you ever been to the museum? Are there any other small museums I should check out?

November to date

I will start off by apologizing. I have not had a post in awhile. I have no real excuse but I am going to try anyway.

I had been studying for a test at work (I passed). These tests are voluntary and are to earn designations (letters after my name). I find several benefits to these tests and the designations I can earn:

1. It shows I care and looks good to management
2. The designations are recognized industry wide and are transferable
3. The company pays for the tests, bonuses when you reach certain levels and gives study time and extra time off if you pass

I think the time I spend on it is well worth it.

I saw the movie Gravity with my brother the other week. It floored me! It was visually stunning, the story was great and I was on the edge of my seat with the characters. Look for the fetus imagery, the howling at the moon scene (noticed by my brother) and the evolution out of water scene. For those of you that now a bit about the Polish language keep an ear out as well.

My girlfriend and I had the chance to spend some time together. One of the places we went to was the National Mustard Museum in Middleton. I have never really eaten mustard but with the free samples it was a great time to try it. I did like some of them. The museum was free and was pretty busy, much more so than either myself or my girlfriend expected. It was a fun place. I would suggest checking it out if you find yourself in the area with time to kill.

I am continuing to commute by bike. The only problem I have had has been my lock freezing up after the snow we had earlier in the week. It was only just below freezing so I was able to get it undone by blowing hot air into it. I have no shortage of that. I am now being more careful about how I position it. I have also bought lock deicer. Two solutions that I have heard since I was talking to people about it were a lighter and a cup of hot water. I would have never have thought of these things myself. I guess I don’t know everything just yet.

How have you been? Has anything exciting happened to you lately?

Ninety Four Cents

Today I went to the UPS store to ship a package. The total came to $xx.06 and with my cash payment I received 94ยข change.


I think the clerk had been having a bad day. When I walked in it was a 4 to 1 customer to employee ratio. The clerks were bouncing back and forth helping each as they could. One lady even left and said she would be back tomorrow. When it was my turn I tried to be as polite as possible.

When receiving my change the clerk said “Ninety four cents, the most coins possible”. I wouldn’t doubt that he viewed this occurrence as the cherry on top of the bad day he was having. I am glad he mentioned it though. I would never have noticed it myself. This moment would have passed me by. I would like to be more aware of these little things in the future. I once had a receipt for take out pizza that was $12.34. That brought a smile to my face.

Have you ever had a moment of simple pleasure almost pass you by?

Pheasant Branch Conservancy

Last weekend I was walking in the Pheasant Branch Conservancy with my girlfriend. (You can read another post about the Conservancy here) We decided to climb the hill at the northern end. What a view! It is amazing how much more peaceful it seems out there compared to my apartment. I had a good time and had a few sites I wanted to share.

Moth at Pheasant Branch

Moth at Pheasant Branch

This moth (?) landed right in front of us on the trail. I like the circle on it’s wings. But that wasn’t the only cool thing we saw on the ground.

Turtle at Pheasant Branch

Turtle at Pheasant Branch

Turtle at Pheasant Branch (2)

Turtle at Pheasant Branch (2)

I almost stepped on this little fellow. It looks pretty manageable when it is so small but I wouldn’t want to meet up with it when it is older. I think it may be a snapping turtle, can anyone verify?

We climbed the hill, and although it took a bit of energy the views were worth it.

View from the hill at Pheasant Branch

View from the hill at Pheasant Branch

This was to the north. The clouds were just perfect.

View towards the city at Pheasant Branch

View towards the city at Pheasant Branch

This was towards Madison. The dome of the capitol building is visible in the distance. So are the subdivisions.

We had a nice walk. I think the hill would be a gorgeous place to view a sunrise. It was good exercise on a very nice day. If you get a chance you should take an hour and enjoy.