We've been busy since the last time I wrote in this space.

Wednesday (05 Jan) and Thursday (06 Jan), Madison got just short of nine inches of snow. Considering the slight dustings that had preceded it, that snow was actually welcome. Sure, we had to shovel the walk no less than five times over the two days, but that was worth it for a good volume of snow. Over the weekend, we were finally able to get out and do some cross country skiing. Over the summer, I equipped myself with various bits and pieces of nordic ski gear by shopping end-of-season sales and garage sales. In late October, I had one of the local ski shops integrate my bindings on to my skis so I would be ready when the snow flew. Ha, ha. No need to hurry, certainly as the city of Madison didn't get more than a dusting until Christmas (when we were in South Dakota) and that snow was all but gone when we returned.

So, both Saturday (08 Jan) and Sunday (09 Jan) morning, Sarah and I took our skis and Dalla out for some Nordic action. Dalla still doesn't completely understand the concept of nordic skiing, but she does like the fact that we cover ground faster with skis than on foot. Sometimes she is guilty of stopping on the trail just in front of our moving skis. At that point, we either crash into her or fall of the trail to avoid said crash.

Regardless of Dalla's lack of understanding, we all had fun getting out and about.

Saturday night (08 Jan), we had some friends over for dinner. They recently had a child, and this was the first time said child had ventured over to our place. We were curious to see how Dalla would react to a small person invading her living space. She does very well with small children (much better than with adults, actually), but we didn't want her to get the idea that the baby was prey. She was curious about the kid (and especially about the odors coming from his posterior), but not terribly jealous or concerned. I'm not at all used to having kids in the house, so every time he made a noise while dozing, I thought it was the dog.

Monday, Sarah and I finally, mostly, finished up our attic insulation project. We rented a U-Haul truck, picked up an insulation blower from a local hardware store, and spent three hours blowing cellulose insulation into our attic. When we bought the house, we learned that parts of the attic were generally uninsulated. As we worked on various projects related to getting our skylights installed and finished, we learned that only part of the attic was uninsulated. The other part was wildly uninsulated.

So, we've been working constantly towards getting another R-19 or so insulation up in the attic. Finally, we reached a point where all or most of the prep work had been done and it was time to get the insulation in the attic already. Considering how rapidly the weather turned frigid (two days later), we got that work done just in time.

Tuesday night, I made it a point to attend and speak at a local government committee meeting. The Mayor of Madison is ramrodding through a ridiculous idea, and even though it was tilting at windmills, I felt obliged to trot downtown and speak my piece.

After the meeting, we met up with some friends of ours who were in town checking out the medical school. They live in Seattle currently and I hadn't seen them for a very, very, very long time. We had a drink together at a downtown bar, and then we went home while they went back to their hotel.

Wednesday night, the same friends came over to our house for dinner before starting on their long trip back to Seattle. It was fun to show them our house, sit around a dinner table with them, and generally spend time with them. Hopefully, the enjoyed Madison enough to consider putting UW-Madison near the top of their list.

The weather of late has been South Dakota cold with temperatures well below 10 degrees. The past few days, we've gotten up to temperatures well below zero.

Despite the frigid weather, we went hiking Sunday morning with the dog at one of the local state parks. Saturday afternoon, we took our skis and skied around Capitol Square. A qualifying event for the US Olympic Ski Team was being held in Madison in a rather unique format. 80 truckloads of snow were made by one of the local ski areas. That snow was then trucked to Madison, and dumped around the Capitol building late Friday night and early Saturday morning. By Saturday morning, a groomed cross-country ski track had been completely laid around the Capitol.

There was a time set aside for the public to use the temporary course, so we put the skis on top of the car and drove downtown to give it a go. Even though it was supposed to cost us $5 a head, we just walked on to the course without paying and no one ever asked us for a dime. We made a couple of trips around the Capitol (each lap took about fifteen minutes), enjoyed the novelty of the experience, and went home.