Madison and choosing cities.

Tonight I tried to broil chicken on my stone pan and it exploded in the oven. On top of that, the chicken didn't come out very good. Chris suggested a post-dinner walk, which was a great idea. When one feels like a domestic failure, the best solution is to get some fresh air (and get away from exploded dishes).

Brooklyn is less shiny than it was a week ago. We spent July 4 with our friends, the Sarahs, in Madison. I can't attest to what Madison is like in the winter (my guess = an icy nightmare), but the summer in Madison? Pretty much Crayola:

Those orange lilies are everywhere. Like, as if someone a hundred years ago took one billion seeds and planted them all around the soil so that they would sprout up every year, their very happy faces making even the dingiest of college housing charming.

I'm going to write a Madison travel guide in the next few days. I've been researching Japan lately - we're headed there in the spring - and you'd be surprised how hard it is to get personal advice on traveling. All I want is for one of the bloggers that I normally read to post the best places to get coffee in Japan and I'm there. Unfortunately, I'm relegated to Fromer's and Lonely Planet and lots of Google searching. Then I remembered that I have MY VERY OWN travel section and that I should put my travel tips out into the world before expecting some in return. So stay tuned, Madison tips.

This afternoon I took my wedding dress to get fitted and Sarah (not one of the Madison Sarahs) came with. She brought her bridesmaid dress and they quoted her $200 to have it made a bit smaller. Obviously this is insane. And you know what? It's New York! It's totally this damn expensive city; something that would be $50 somewhere else is totally blown out of proportion on this stupid island.

You get what you pay for. I know that. We have diversity and culture. I hear tons of different languages spoken on the sidewalks around me on a daily basis. Our airport flies to anywhere.

But seeing smaller cities has been good for us. Tonight while we ate our ice cream, we talked more about Portland, how we're looking forward to visiting it again during our honeymoon road trip. Madison was lovely, but we both agree, a little bit small.

This stuff is hard, you know? When you look several years in advance and think about the kind of life you want to be living, it almost seems easier if you have one option. Tonight we talked through everything from London to San Francisco. It's a different world today than it was 30 years ago when my parents had me.

One truth: airplanes, when you can afford them, are easy. You lunch in New York and dine in Madison with friends. We have friends flying in from England and Switzerland and France for our wedding. When you want to make the time and the friends are important enough, things come together. I guess, no matter where we end up, that's one of the things we can content ourselves with.

More Madison pix here.

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