Monday, August 27, 2012

Don't let the bed bugs bite

The following dialogue takes place over the course of the two hours following the discovery of these little boogers in my bed during my cleaning binge last week.

On the phone the first time with hubbie at work:
TBF: I think we have bed bugs.
H: ...what?
TBF: I think-
H: I heard you, but, oh my god. Okay. Um. How many did you find? In the bed? What do they look like?
TBF: Hold on! I found three. One on top of the sheets and two on the mattress pad. They're small, round, dark brown and flat. But oddly enough, they're all dead.
H: Did you look around the edges of the mattress? Did you take the bed apart?
TBF: Yes and yes. Didn't find anything.
H: Okay, here's what you need to do. Get everything off the floor. Put all of our books in plastic bags-
TBF: Wait, why am I putting them in plastic bags?
H: I've had bed bugs before! They can get anywhere! Just do it!
TBF: ...Ooookay..... Well, I'll call the apartment company-
H: NO! Don't call the apartment company!
TBF: Woah. Why?
H: Because if they find them in other apartments then they'll blame us and we'll have to pay!
TBF: I don't think that's exactly how it wor-
H: Trust me on this!
TBF: I'm calling Rachel.
H: Okay. Oh my gosh. Fine. Sorry. I'm just freaking out here.
TBF: It'll be fine. Relax. I'll let you know when I find out more. 
H: Okay.

Intermission: Called my friends Rachel and Joliene who are both working on their PhD's in entomology. Left messages explaining the situation. Also called the Madison pest inspector office to see what our liability would be in terms of bed bugs. We're fine. Got started cleaning the bedroom (sans bagging up the books. I was not going to do that with 150 books.). Got to vacuuming and stopped.

30 minutes later on the phone for the second time with hubbie at work:
TBF: Sorry to tell you this but I found more.
H: How many more?
TBF: Ten. All in the carpet. All dead. I'm thinking two things: one, that they might be escapees if another apartment got treated for them near us, and two, that we need to call the apartment company.
H: Oh my god. Okay. Oh my god. <freaking out continues> (For the record, I don't blame him for doing this. He got bed bugs several years ago after lots of hotel traveling. He ended up taking apart his bed, opening the windows to his room in the middle of winter and closing the door. He slept on the couch for a week while freezing the bedbugs to death. This is not an option in August.)

Intermission: Called the apartment company and spent the next half hour talking with landlords and trying to email a photo of the bugs in.

30 minutes later on the phone with Rachel:
Rachel: Okay, Lauren, what do the bugs look like?
TBF: Tiny, brown, round, flat.
Rachel: How flat exactly? And how small? Like how many millimeters across?
TBF: Um...
Rachel: That's it. I'm coming over. I'll be there in about ten minutes.

10 minutes later:
Rachel: And these are all the ones you collected? And you didn't find any live ones?
TBF: Nope. That's it. ...Rachel, is that a pipette with alcohol?
Rachel: (Whips out her magnifying glass necklace and a tweezers.) How else am I going to get these back to the lab? I'm going to run some tests. I'll get back to you in a bit. (Dashes out the door. I'm speechless and pretty impressed at the moment.)

Intermission: Spent the next half hour telling my landlords that I had someone on it and that it was not yet necessary to have a pest control guy come out to put C02 traps in my apartment.

20 minutes later on the phone with Rachel:
Rachel: Lauren, are you part plant?
TBF: Not that I'm aware of.
Rachel: Do you have plants in your bedroom or possibly sleep with them?
TBF: No on the first one, and what-are-you-getting-at on the second one.
Rachel: You've got common cydnidae.
TBF: Ah, yes. Oh course! What are those?
Rachel: They're plant bugs that eat leaves. That would explain why you have no bites and why they're dead. What have you guys been doing in bed?
TBF: Damn! You've discovered our secret herb and ivy fetish. I knew we couldn't hide it forever. I guess it's time to finally take our stashes of collars, whips and hydrangeas out of the closet. 
Rachel: Hah! Well, however they got in there it's no problem now. 

5 minutes later on the phone with hubbie for probably the tenth time that day:
TBF: I am a moron.

I'm actually not too much of a moron. Cynidae and bed bugs are in closely related families of bugs. Should any of you also enjoy bedding down with plants (Seriously, we never did figure this out. I have one succulent in the office and that's it. Must have been something we picked up on our clothes somewhere.), here's what the two look like:
In my defense, I'd never seen a bed bug before and I did find them in my bed and bedroom. And telling the difference between them when they're all dead is tougher. Still. I felt kinda dumb.

Kudos to all you entomologists out there. And to all of those who carry pipettes and magnifying glass necklaces with you. You impress the rest of us with science.

Sunday, August 19, 2012

I Don't Wanna...

 Here we are. It's the middle of August and I'm in the middle of coming down from a slump.Of course that means that I go a little insane in terms of working out, and I often forget to let myself rest. Today the hubbie is traveling around Wisconsin teaching young skaters how to referee roller derby. So I am car-less. And after one hour of elliptical, stretching, ab work, and weight lifting, and a 45 minute walk to the thrift store and back (which netted me an excellent set of flats and a copper necklace), I realized that I screwed up and made the 35min bike ride to the birthday barbecue not as doable as I would have liked. I'll have to make up for my exercise fail with a belated birthday dinner for my buddy.

I started keeping track of my weight every day and have been staying strong since January 1st of this year. While I haven't created a nice downward curve, it has been interesting to see the trends start to form.  For example, every time you see a sudden spike, it marks time I spent with my in-laws. ...I've spent a lot of time with my in-laws. The most recent one is the result of the up north county fair. The one where it was that nice apple pie for dinner, and breakfast... and lunch. Plus the pizza for another dinner, subsistence off fair food for most lunches, and chocolate. Oh, so much chocolate.

About two days later I decided it was worth it, but now that I'm actually hitting the gym and weights like crazy trying to work it off again, I'm having second thoughts.

My ultimate goal is to get to my optimal BMI number apparently that's 131.5lbs for my current age & weight. I haven't gotten there yet, but every little bump in the graph gets me a little closer. My record is 133.5lbs. Granted, that was only for one day, but I'll take what I can get. :)

Has anyone else been tracking their weight? I've looked around online to see if I can find other examples of what a person's body does over the course of a year and (aside from getting blank charts to download and several disturbing photos involving various surgeries) haven't found anything. If anyone else is willing to share I'd be interested to see how my attempts measure up.
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Wednesday, August 8, 2012

I think they're trying to tell me something...

Monday my husband and I returned from the land of John Deeres and "hey der's" back to hippie Madison. This weekend was the Iron County Fair where my husband does the annual pie auction that benefits 4-H (The record this year for the first place raspberry-peach pie was $620!), and we both help run the kiddie pedal tractor pull. And while the fair is always a blast, the highlight of this trip was all the really weird signs we kept finding. If they weren't so random I would guess that the gods were trying to tell me something. In this case, though, I'm going to say that Hermes and Kapua were just having themselves a good time. :)
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Found at a park in Bayfield. More photos of the park to come... sans the African lion.
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Being next to Lake Superior, this made slightly more sense; however, we preferred that it not.
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Can your can litter potty and feed itself? Also, is it just me, or is the seller using his cats' disabilities as a positive selling point?
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But he's constantly in a custody battle with SATAN!
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If you get this joke, you are a true geek, and I bow to your awesomeness.
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In a used book shop in Bayfield, WI.
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There are so many bad thoughts that come to mind in this gorilla scenario.
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Take me, Uncle Sam!
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One of the 4-H kids made a safety house for her school project. Just in case someone's interested in home maintainence and wants to make sure they don't die in the process.
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Ooh! Be sure to use electricity near - wait. Oh. NOT. I guess that puts an end to my hair dryer, toaster, teslacoil tub parties.
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If the population is really "Me and My friends" then move out the way cuz I'm moving to Silly Earth!
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Creating a new print publication. This is obviously still in the ideas being thrown around randomly until something seems awesome stage. Meh. It's further ahead than a lot of other papers.
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One or more of you might own a horse, know what this is and know its practical uses.
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So please know that the rest of us find it absolutely hilarious.

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In our family we call these half-exploded chickens.
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The absolute weirdest fair attendee.
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This is not my truck. And I still can't figure out what's involved in bringing it "to the max".
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I really wanted to see that second scenario played out. Then I thought, "It's kind of warm in this restaurant. 560,023 peeps might be a bad idea."

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Lughnassadh sneaks up on us

I almost had to rub my eyes in disbelief. It's hard to believe that harvest time is already here. True harvest season will begin this weekend for my husband and I when we attend the Iron County Fair. It will be a time of homemade food, probably the most locally made fair food we can get, and livestock auctions. I'm hoping for a Lammas lamb this year. Then again, that's every year for me. :)
For many of us it will be less a time of celebrating the bountiful harvest, and more of a time for prepping for winter. Let's face it, for those stuck in the drought the year has been a little less than bountiful in the produce department. I've been spending the day meditating (in my own way since belly dancing has adapted to my natural lack of patience and the resulting wiggle-butt syndrome) on really what I've gained this summer aside from just produce. I've grown friendships, learned what my body is capable of (biking 25 miles!) and not that capable of (darn pole dancing), gained experience in the real estate market (and learned that houses sell ungodly fast around here), and changed my eating habits (10.5 pounds down!).
With all that I've positive things I've gained and reaped already, I felt like this Lammas I wanted to focus more on how I can give to others. This explains the odd, almost chemical, smells permeating my apartment that resulted from my first attempt at homemade finger paint. Thank you to Tiffany at Easy Peasie for her recipe, and to Leeanne at Can We Have a New Witch? Ours Melted for passing it along! I got the baby food jars from a woman off Freecycle and was cooking up batches of gooey, multi-colored goodness this afternoon. Don't let my choice of the word "goodness" fool you. While the mixture is non-toxic, it is not edible. My natural curiosity got the best of me and I gave it a taste. Don't do this. It leads to scrunched up faces and clawing at your own tongue. But use it as it's meant to be used - on paper - and it works pretty well. The paints will be going to my younger niece for her 2 year birthday in a few weeks. Well, that is if her mother approves. My younger niece has a tendency to be adorably mischievous when left to her own devices. :)
So wherever you might find yourself this harvesting season, whether it be gathering the fruits from your garden or keeping warm in Australia (:P), may your Lammas have many gifts given and recieved. And may they not turn out as gooey as this.
I promise this comes out cooler. :)

Monday, July 30, 2012

Wait! Come back! I need stuff!

In my quest to read every ecological book the Madison Public Libarary system can throw at me, I've started up reading, Not Buying It: My year without shopping, by Judith Levine. I'm only in four pages so I'm not sure on the fine details of the project, but I do know that the main idea is to only buy essentials for an entire year. This got me thinking back to Madison's Maxwell Street Days from two weeks ago  - a three day span when the downtown stores sell their extra merchandise for a fraction of the cost.

I'm a yearly attendee. And while I do buy things here and there, I try to make the purchases with the thought of purpose in mind. This year I came away with a very nice hippie skirt from Ragstock - the kind that you wash, ring out, shake and then twist up again. While I know the skirt will be with me for years on end, there were some things for sale that seem to lose sense and meaning even before any cash is forked over. I feel like these are the things Levine had in mind when swearing off spending.
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The estrogen jungle that is Urban Outfitters and hordes of sorority girls clamoring for thinning fabric. I used my zoom lens for this. Across the street seemed a safe distance. 
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Have I ever met a "deep sea dandy"? Do I know anyone who would want to be one? ...Do I know what a dandy is? Google>Define: Dandy.

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Wow! I've always heard about those types of magnifying glasses that start fires but I've never seen one until now! I wonder if it has other uses so I can throw out these reading glasses, this antique Coca Cola bottle and this larger, obsolete magnifying glass...

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Difficult to read, but for those of you who still haven't made the switch to the Magnifire, it's a packet of Foul Mouth Gummies. You know. Just in case giving someone the finger isn't a gift in itself.
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Because really, who wants their guests to think about butts when they use your water closet? We're more refined around here.
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Che smiled to himself as the guards came for him. Yes, he would be dead, but his memory would live on through t-shirts in college frats everywehre. Let the revolution begin man! Brewskis anyone?
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I would never buy anything like this. Never have I ever purchased anything so frivolous. Always the concerned spender I...

Damn it, I admit it! I bought a Bender scorpion magnet! It was a moment of weakness several years ago! But he totally sat on my fridge for years helping me keep a receipt up there... one from 2009... And while cleaning the kitchen last week I found the camper bender I also bought at Maxwell Street Days... gathering dust... I kinda forgot he was there...
How do people completely against consumerism do this? I don't think I can be completely against it. As you'll probably see when I post about the Thor action figure my husband and I bought from TJ Maxx last month.
I'm curious, what's the dumbest thing you've ever bought? One of those things that, at the time, you thought, "Dude! That's awesome! I must have this and put it somewhere!", and months or years later you look at it and think, "Why did I get this again? And how do I best get rid of this?" Alas, for me it is not the Thor action figure. That one still hasn't lived out its hilarity.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Onions and a Dead Bunny

Cooking Adventure: Green Onion & Cheddar Popovers
Source: Cooking Weekends
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Houllou Houllou by Emad Sayyah
Prep Time: 10 min.
Cook Time: 25-35 min.
  
"You want to see him do dead bunny?" Well, of course I want to find out what this could mean. So I grab my camera while my friend, Anya, lays her pet bunny, Oli, on her back in the crook between her outstretched legs. She coaxes him for a few seconds. "Come on! Come on! Do the dead bunny! Be a dead bunny!" Oli proceeds to go stiff with her feet sticking straight up in the air, to which Anya jokingly laments, "...Nooooo! The bun-bun's dead! Come back BUNNAY!" It's not a pigeon in a diaper, but I will never cease to be entertained by my friend's pets.
I solemnly swear that this bunny is indeed alive and is in no way included in the following recipe.
Meanwhile, I recently made some chocolate chili and have found myself in the possession of an exceedingly large amount of green onions.  Why do markets always sell them in bunches of five? Has anyone here ever used that many in one recipe? Apparently this is a common problem, as several other Google search results yielded other Internet cooks lamenting their overstock of the stuff. As using them in a salad is out for me**, I opted to go the yummier way and make cheddar & green onion popovers.

If you don't own a popover pan you can make these in muffin tins; however, I highly encourage using a popover pan. They'll taste the same, but you just can get as good of a bubble with the muffin tins. You can find the pans at most cooking stores for about $40, but a good chunk of people seem to not know what they're for. Hence, I tend to see them at Goodwill quite often. I also highly advocate borrowing - as I have yet to meet anyone who lives off a daily, or even weekly, popover supply. I imagine that, after a while, you'd start to transform into the shape of one if you ate that many.

This weekend is my last in town before my husband and I head up nort' der ya you betcha for the annual Iron County Fair. I'm thinking I'll enter a pie in the competition this year. Not sure it's going to beat the one I had last year, though: Chocolate Pecan Bourbon pie that sold at auction for $180 (These Yoopers are serious about their pie.).

*A note about this recipe: If you're using a muffin tin the amounts should give you enough batter. For a popover tin you'll want to increase everything by 1/2.
Ingredients
- 2 tbsp canola oil (I used olive oil & it worked fine.)
- 2 eggs
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- 1 cup milk
- 1/8-1/4 tsp salt, to taste
- freshly ground black pepper, to taste
- 1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese
- 1 tbsp green onion, sliced or jalapeno, finely diced
Directions
1. Preheat oven to 425 degrees.
2. Pour some oil on to a clean cloth or paper towel and coat the insides and top edges of the muffin tin/popover cups. (Gerlinde just put a tsp. of oil in each cup for hers, but she had some sticking. If you coat the cups with oil then you get a very clean popover with nothing sticking to the sides.)
3. Place tin into oven to heat about 5-10min.
4. While the tin is heating whisk together the eggs, flour, milk, salt and pepper until smooth & even. Whisk in the cheese & onion (jalapeƱo also an option; especially if served with chili).
5. Remove the tin from the oven and pour batter into cups about 1/4 inch from the top.
6. Return to the oven and bake for about 25-35 minutes or until the popovers are a nice, even brown. If you want dryer and stiffer ones you can turn off the oven and leave them in for 5 more minutes (Though I've always been partial to the softer, doughier kind - more fun to pull apart.).
 
 
Thank you to Gerlinde for her wonderful popover recipe! Definitely check out her blog, Cooking Weekends. She has a wonderful collection of recipes and very yummy looking photos.
 
 
**Main course salads make me angry. Like the Hulk angry. I eat all that food but I always end up still hungry after. But I can't eat any more because I already technically had my meal. If ever you sense that my blog post is angry, ask me if I tried to eat a salad. The answer is most likely, "Blue Faerie SMASH!"

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Define: "Boogie"

I had a friend send this to me two days ago and I've had it stuck in my head all day. It's catchy, hilarious, and proves that I'm very much a white girl. The conversation with my friend went like this:
"What's a boogie?"
"Aren't they saying beauty... but weird?"
"No, it says in the lyrics right here, 'boogie'. Hold on a second. I'm going to look this up."
"This is just sad."
"Hey! I'm educating myself. Here we go...'to get going'... wait a minute, that's a verb that doesn't make sen- ohhh...."
For those of you who are also embodiments of the Stuff White People Like phenomenon, a boogie, as defined by www.urbandictionary.com is jail slang that's:

"Referring to a person who the inmate, or person, is unaffiliated or unaware of. To call somebody Scram Boogie is pretty much a dis as it indicates that you are an unknown, a nobody, undeserving of props."

And now you know! And knowing is half the battle! GI Joe!

I need to get out more.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

It's Okay to Drink This Yellow Liquid

Cooking Adventure: Yellow Watermelon Smoothie
Source: Spark Recipes
The Bellydance Soundtrack: Thriller Run by Unkle Ho
Prep Time: 5-10 min.

My husband and I brought in quite the haul from farmer's market last weekend. A newbie fruit to the purchases was a yellow watermelon. I didn't even know yellow watermelon existed, but now that I do I'm hooked. It's a bit sweeter than red watermelon and freezes really well. So when it came time to test it's smoothie possibilities the pieces didn't freeze together into one big chunk.

The song is one I've been using for my beginner dance students. We use traditional bellydance music so often for them that it's nice to change it up once in a while. This week we'll be moving on to tummy undulations and pelvic rolls - two of the more advanced beginning moves. I really enjoy the group I have this summer. They're always excited to be there and they're always ready to challenge themselves. Those are always the best classes to have. The most challenging are the ones dragged there by their friends and then continue doing the classes just because they paid for them. Hm. Perhaps I should listen to myself and apply this to my last pole dancing class for the year (Pole dancing stories soon to come. Be forewarned. They involve a lot of pain.).

Ingredients:
 - 2 cups yellow watermelon chunks (Red works too. Ooh. You could have a mix and do orange watermelon!)
 - 1 cup cracked ice
 - 1/2 cup plain low fat yogurt (low fat vanilla works just as well)
 - 1 tablespoon sugar
 - 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
 - 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
 - Optional: honey to taste, and water to help blending. My blender isn't that amazing, so I added water as I went to help the process along. It really doesn't take away from the flavor at all... especially when you add about a tablespoon and half of honey to the mix. :)

Directions:
1. Blend. You gotta love blended recipes.

Monday, July 23, 2012

Altered States of Reality

Every morning I check out the blogosphere to check up on the news, and lately there seems to be a common thread linking up several posts: reality. Namely, our battle against and for it, and the things we don't need in it. Let's start with the a common altered reality to tackle -  the modeling industry.

Leeanna, over at Can we have a new witch? Ours melted, brings up the long-contested issue of the images of women we see in everyday fashion - particularly in runway shows. The average runway model is expected to be size 0 to size 4 (a size 6 or above is considered plus size). Like most sane people, I consider this to be fairly insane. Last I checked, I didn't walk into the mall to see a large group of 110 pounders walking around (unless we're talking about preteens). What exactly is the average size of an American woman? According to WebMD "the average American woman is 5’4″, has a waist size of 34-35 inches and weighs between 140-150 lbs, with a dress size of 12-14." Considering that these numbers are quite a bit higher than they were fifty years ago, you would think that the fashion industry would adjust their model choices appropriately in order to fit their target audience.

Alas, modeling and advertising isn't about showing us the reality we already have, but rather a reality that we must spend the rest of our lives attempting to achieve. I'm pretty sure it's easier to get into Mormon Heaven. If the average model represented the average human being, then a good chunk of us would be undergoing leg-lengthening procedures, starving ourselves, and ultimately dying before the age of forty. Then again, if we really want those model bodies, I suppose we could just follow Wikihow's seven steps on how to get one. Is that all it takes? Not according to an article from Lovepanky.com, which says that in order to get to a size 0, an average woman taking in 1200 calories per day would have to decrease that amount to 400 calories per day - an amount that officially falls into the category of starvation. Good thing Wikihow's instructions have convenient links to anorexia treatments right under step one.

So if we can't starve ourselves down that way, maybe we can just get close by eating healthy.  Unfortunatley, this brings us to another altered reality - the food industry.

The NY Times has an interactive version of this here.
Shopping at farmers markets has made eating real food a much higher priority for me lately (although will admit to having a secret shameful love for Slim Jims.). This involves paying much closer attention to the labels on the products I buy. If you've ever tried to do this, or if you already live this way, I truly applaud you. Finding real food is much more difficult than you might think. It's really shocking how much can be replaced by corn and soybean products - two crops that have become so central to processed food that they've taken over the industry. With over 70% of our processed foods containing corn or soybean ingredients, farms have turned to every kind of chemical and genetic engineering to get the highest crop yields possible. Even small farms are jumping into the business. Jane, at Hard Work Homestead, pointed out that her family passed several Amish farms showing Roundup Ready crops growing in their fields - a genetically engineered product of the food industry giant, Monsanto. The proliferation of corn and soy has had me running for the peripheries of the grocery store and haunting the fresh fruits and vegetables sections. 

The altered reality of beauty: BE SKINNY!, and the altered reality  of the food industry: IF IT DOESN'T KILL YOU IT'S FOOD!, seem to be at odds. We spend so much time and money trying to attain one and combat the other (organic foods are frickin' expensive). So rather than bitch and moan and move on, here are some things we can do to slowly make life better:

1. Save your money and paper. Don't by beauty magazines. Do we really need them? And how many times have you actually read a Cosmo and thought, "I feel so good about myself and my body exactly where they're at right now!" Didn't think so. Besides, we all know they recycle their sex advice anyway. Apparently guys still like nudity after thirty years! Who would've thought!

2. Educate yourself. Learn about the way we get our food by watching the documentary, Food Inc. For those of you with queasy stomachs, there is a bit with chickens getting slaughtered at a small farm, and a bit showing dead cows in a slaughterhouse. Otherwise, this is a very rounded look at the food industry without getting sidetracked by only animal rights issues.
3. Exercise. Like Elle Woods of Legally Blond says, "Exercising produces endorphins. Endorphins make you happy! Happy people don't shoot their husbands." And in addition to not murdering your husband, you'll also be happier that you could totally bench press those skinny models after only one day of weight training. Plus, you'll be less likely to want to be weighed down by processed food (resist the Slim Jims! I know, not hard for most of you. It's so deliciously shameful!).

4. Cook like Little Miss Vegetarian. She has some wonderful looking recipes over at her blog. Most involve fresh, organic ingredients, and would make anyone, vegetarian or not, drool. The Lasagna Al Dainty is on my list of foods to use to impress people at parties.

Saturday, July 21, 2012

Make Way for Canoes!

Today was our weekly capital farmer's market trip, and the annual Paddle and Portage competition. Over 300 paddlers had 1hour & 45minutes today to navigate loops on our two lakes and a quick portage across the isthmus from one to the other. Most of the sea-faring folk came carrying canoes in the traditional manner, but others came up with some more unique ways to transport their transportation.

The competition is really more for the fun of seeing you can do it. Plus, anyone can do it! The race organizers team up with local canoe/kayak rental places to provide participants with sea worth crafts to take part. Participants don't have to worry about providing their own life vest either. My husband and I are thinking we might have to bone up on our kayaking skills and rent a two-person kayak for next year. Although portaging might be interesting as there's a good foot of height difference between the two of us (I offered to have him carry it while I ride on top and provide motivation. He seemed to think this was a bad idea. :P ).



Wednesday, July 18, 2012

RAIN!!!!

Before you read this you have to know that southern Wisconsin has been in one of the worst draughts in years. We haven't had rain for over a month and a half. All the grass is dead, brown and crunchy. Corn crops across the area are almost gone. Heat advisories have been keeping most people indoors. This summer has looked and felt like an apocalypse.
I fell asleep in the middle of cleaning today. Woke up two hours later, looked out the window, leaped up, raced to the door with my camera and started taking shots.
You would think I'd never seen rain before in my life. Then again, you would think no one else had either. Almost all my neighbors were at their windows or outside in the downpour. Several of us had cameras and were snapping away. The kids were screaming and giggling and running through the puddles. One woman just stood there - hands turned toward the sky, her head back and her eyes closed, feeling the rain on her face.
Down the street the drains were plugged up with water and a mini-lake had formed next to our parking lot. Drivers each took their turn at the challenge. Some carefully snuck through at a crawl. Some idled around and eyed-up the situation (trying to decide whether they should ford the river or attempt to caulk the wagon and float it). Others surged on ahead spraying the small crowd that had gathered to watch the growing puddles.
I checked our own drain in our basement garage to see that it was almost completely stopped up with leaves. I stabbed at it with my broom for a while until my neighbor came down and used his snow shovel to help me clear the rest out. He had just come back from a soccer game that, at first, was almost canceled due to the heat. It turns out it got called on account of rain and low visibility. He said it's a no go when you have to bend over at a 90 degree angle just to see the ball.
Why is it that it takes severe and unusual weather to bring people together and outside? I met more of my neighbors today than I ever have. I got to see a whole crowd of people genuinely smiling and thankful at something as simple as a summer storm. Sans the lack of water, I wish we had moments like this more often.