After being gone for so long, it interesting to step back into yourpre-existing life.

One of the first things you discover after being away from home for sevenweeks is that the brain has quite complex and useful algorithms fordetermining which information should be kept in long-term storage and whichcan be safely discarded. For instance, when I left Madison, I knew theschedules for the buses that ran near my house quite well. When I got back,I had no idea what they were, and in some instances, had even forgotten someof the bus route designations. So, now that I’m back, I get to rediscoverlittle bits of information like those.
For those who don’t know, my sister Amy moved to Madison in earlyJanuary. She house-and-dog-and-tortoise sat for us while we were in NewZealand and Australia, which worked out well for all involved. We got tohave someone we trust take care of our pets and house while she got to staysomewhere while she looked for a job and an apartment. She found anapartment while we were gone, so we helped her move in the weekend after wegot back. It’s a big apartment a few miles south and just a bit east of ourplace.

On Friday night last weekend, we were invited to the house of our friendsKathie and Scott for a fish fry. Scott is a fisherman of no small skill,and he caught all the fish that we ate that night. In addition, he made hisspecial family-secret fish fry recipe for us. It was great to eat threedifferent kinds of fish in a setting like that because it helped us toidentify how the three differ in taste. Usually, when you eat fish fry, youget just one type of fish, or just one type of fish at a time, which makesit quite difficult to compare the various species. We had walleye,bluegill, and perch that night. Walleye tastes like fish; perch tastes abit stronger and less fishy; bluegill has little to no flavor. They reallywent all out and we had the whole Wisconsin fish fry array of food: relishtray; pumpernickel bread; cole slaw; cheesy potatoes; homemade tartar sauce;lemons; and beer. We left their place stuffed to gills (pun intended).

Saturday we rearranged the furniture in our bedroom. The weather herehas been reasonably cold (for Wisconsin), so spending the day indoors movingfurniture around and cleaning wasn’t a bad way to spend a day. We hadn’tmoved the furniture in our bedroom since we moved in four years ago, and itwas time to change things around a bit.

Sunday was even colder than Saturday (but still not Dakota or Pole cold),and we cleaned the house and ran a few errands before the Super Bowl. Sarahmade a big pot of chilli, some dip, and a relish tray and Amy came over towatch the Super Bowl. Amy brought over a few dozen chocolate cookies and wedrank some of the beer that I brewed and a few Tom and Jerries while wewatched the game.

Dalla gets along quite well with Amy’s dog, Olive. They like to run,growl, wrestle, and play tug.

I bought a new bike when I got back to Madison. It’s a 2005 Gary FisherTiburon that I had slightly modified to make up for some less than idealframe geometry. Even though the windchill was -20°F this morning, Ibundled up and rode in. If nothing else, I needed the exercise aftergorging on all the junk food we had during the Super Bowl.

As I mentioned above, I brewed some beer before I left for the Pole. Itsat in the basement while I was gone and I’ve been drinking it since I gotback. It’s a German-style wheat and for a first beer, I’m more thansatisfied with the results. Sarah wants me to brew a pilsner for my nextbatch. I’ve only got about twenty beers left, and since it takes a fewweeks to get the beer from ingredients to bottling to drinking, it is abouttime to start brewing.