finding a new home:  After driving from Anaheim to Madison, the next morning (Monday, September 14) I found the kind of one-bedroom apartment I wanted — on the top floor (3rd) with a balcony — in the neighborhood I wanted.  And with a big tree outside my windows.  Within 24 hours, I found it — and decided “yes” and did everything that was necessary to rent it — and then unloaded my totally-full car, forwarded the mail, ordered-and-installed wifi & landline phone.  Since then I've continued (as in Anaheim) being busy — partly by sorting through everything so I can make progress toward my goals of getting organized and eventually having far fewer things* — except that now (in Madison) instead of doing what I HAVE to do, it's what I WANT to do, and this feels good.  I'm happy and thankful, settling into a new home that I like.     {one advantage of Madison is its cheaper rent ($955/month + about $95 for electricity & parking) compared with Orange County where this kind of apartment would cost much more.}  {iou - In late-December there will be updates about my new apartment, with photos.}

getting things organized:  * I want to get my things organized so “everything has its place” (a useful principle from a workshop taught by Penny Lambright) so I'll have a neat home,* and I can find things now, and later I can look thru each kind-of-thing and decide what to keep, or to give away or throw away.

the best in basketball:  * I want a home that is "neat" and also fun.  One part of my fun is sports, and after arriving I quickly bought a 4k TV to watch the NBA Playoffs, along with Sling Orange (for TNT & ESPN in semifinals, $30/month) plus a broadcast antenna (for ABC in Finals, $30).  The NBA had an excellent plan and they did it well, with no positive tests for covid in their NBA Bubble, and (in the on-court competitions) an exciting pre-playoff race for 8th place in the West, followed by a full playoff schedule and (for me) a happy ending when it was won by the Lakers.   :<)     {in addition to being lifelong “dog people”, we (Mom, Dad, me) have been fans of the Lakers;  e.g. in 2006 they got a joyful-playful new dog (who looked like Toto from Kansas/Oz) and they named him Kobe;  more recently, I'm enjoying Madison despite missing our joyful dog Zoe, but am happy & thankful that she has a great new home.}     /     update: This year, will the LA Dodgers be the best in baseball?  After 8 years of regular-season success (winning 8 consecutive titles in NL West) and 2 years making it into the World Series (2017 & 2018) but with their season always ending in a loss, will they FINALLY win it all?  They're close in 2020, are back in the World Series (after winning a close Game 7 last night, Oct 18) and now — after being fairly successful for 8 straight years, and coming close but falling short — winning it all would mean a lot to them, so I'm cheering for them to win it, will be very happy for them if they do.   { Oct 27 update: yes, they did it! }

 

Madison vs Anaheim?   Am I comparing them?  Yes and No.  Yes, I'm describing why I like my new home (the apartment, neighborhood, city) but...  No, I'm not saying “Madison is better than Anaheim,” instead I'm just saying “Madison is better for me.”  I really do like many things about Anaheim, Orange County, and (more generally) Southern California.  I understand why many people enjoy living there, why they think it's the best place for them.  It just isn't the best place for me, it isn't where I want to be.

 

driving from Anaheim to Madison:  My page with stories includes an explanation of why (for the long-term health of my car) I should have chosen the Southern Route instead of driving thru Utah & Colorado.  And now that I've arrived, here are some observations about the natural beauty of Madison, its seasons & weather, and my new neighborhood.

 

Green & Orange, White & Green:  Madison is a beautiful city, with lakes and other natural blessings.  Inside & outside the city, most areas are “green” with grass and trees.  At this time of year, there also is yellow & orange & red with trees changing to autumn colors.  This is pretty, but also a bit sad because it's a reminder that soon the orange leaves will fall and the city will be “white” with snow, which I really enjoy for awhile, but eventually I'll be looking forward to March-April-May when it gradually becomes green again, and warm.  Among the many things I like about Orange County is its mild climate (typically not too cold, not too hot) but during the past 7 years I've missed the cycle of seasons, especially the joy of springtime when it offers welcome relief from the long cold winter.   {taking time to watch snow [and “see the wind”] in March 2012}

Weather in Anaheim and Madison:  Today (Oct 12) it's 67° with rain, similar to SoCal in the winter, but with occasional thunder – common in the midwest, but rare on the west coast in SoCal or Seattle.  Next week will be cooler, with an average high of 48° that feels cold now (after a summer in Anaheim and a mild early autumn in Madison) but will feel warm (after a winter in Madison) when the temperature rises to 48° in February, fueling our yearly anticipations of springtime & summertime.   /   The TV weather forecasts are very different in SoCal and Madison.  They're typically boring for Anaheim — with “more of the same” from April thru October, except for minor morning variety due to May Gray & June Gloom — but with a variety of geographic areas: LA/OC, beaches, inland empire, low desert, high desert, mountains.  By contrast, in Madison there is only one geographic area, but there is a wider variety of weather in the summer (with sunny blue skies, plus rains & occasional thunderstorms) and winter (with lots of snow & occasional ice) and our radar map gets to show its full range of colors, including not just the green-yellow-orange-red (for rain) we see in Anaheim, but also blue-pink-purple (for snow & ice).

My Neighborhood – Hilldale in Madison:  During my first 24 years in Madison (1989 to 2013) I lived near U of Wisconsin, at distances of only 0.7 mile to the south [for 2 years] near Vilas Zoo & Park, then 1.4 miles east [8 years] a few houses from Lake Mendota with sunset-watching in Summer 1996,  0.7 mile west [4 years] in an area with many beautiful houses & yards, and 0.1 mile south of Union South [10 years] at Orchard & Spring.  This time I'm a little further away, 2.5 miles west.  Why?  It's partly because I no longer teach in the UW Chemistry Dept (so there is no need to frequently get there quickly by riding a bike) but also for other reasons.  I like my new neighborhood (map) because of...  its ALTITUDE {Hilldale has an “open-air feeling” on a wide plateau-hill (above all surrounding areas) with five apartment complexes similar to mine (Normandy, Sovereign, Carolina, Monticello, Chapel Hill) having large grassy frontyards & courtyards};   and its LOCATION – as you can see on this map, it's close to...   PARKS {especially Rennebohm Park [my photos-page for it shows the park & my apartment's location (at the "o" labeled "Home" on Sheboygan Avenue) within Carolina Apartments] but also other parks [to west & east] and [to north] Blackhawk Country Club [golf course,...] and Lake Mendota};   STORES {Hilldale Shopping Center [.5 mile away, with many small stores, including Apple Store, Spectrum Store, UW Bookstore, AMC Theaters, plus Target & Ace Hardware, ...],  USPS [.4 mile],  UW Credit Union & Walgreens & Pick 'n Save (large grocery store) & McDonald's [.8 mile],  Starbucks & Whole Foods [1.1 mile] with Amazon Locker;   and farther away, UW Hospital [2.0 miles] & UW Campus [2.5-3.5 miles],  downtown {State Capital, Monona Terrace,... [4 miles]},  Olbrich Botanical Gardens [7 miles],  MSN Airport & East Towne Mall [9 miles],  and [3 milesfrom here in opposite direction] West Towne Mall.  There will be plenty of fascinating places to explore by driving & walking, riding bus (from nearby stops on Sheboygan Ave, for 7 routes going eastward [to UW & downtown & beyond] and westward, plus a “church bus” from UW to Blackhawk Church) and especially by riding bicycle — an excellent machine (are wheels the best human invention?) for exploration trips over medium-short distances ranging from a few blocks to a few miles.

 

Here are two views from my balcony, of my tree and the two courtyards:

 
sewing machine   sewing machine
The photos above are Sep 15, and below are Oct 20 (with fewer leaves on my tree, no leaves on faraway trees) and (with leaves almost gone) Nov 7.   I.O.U. – later I'll have photos with white snow, and then green springtime!
sewing machine   sewing machine
sewing machine   sewing machine