And she loves poetry...

Along the lines of being a Lit Geek, I thought I'd post one of my favorite poems...

Detroit Annie, hitchhiking
by Judy Grahn

Her words pour out as if her throat were a broken
artery and her mind were cut-glass, carelessly handled.
You imagine her in a huge velvet hat with great
dangling black feathers,
but she shaves her head instead
and goes for three-day midnight walks.
Sometimes she goes down to the dock and dances
off the end of it, simply to prove her belief
that people who cannot walk on water
are phonies, or dead.
When she is cruel, she is very, very
cool and when she is kind she is lavish.
Fisherman think perhaps she's a fish, but they're all
fools. She figured out that the only way
to keep from being frozen was to
stay in motion, and long ago converted
most of her flesh into liquid. Now when she
smells danger, she spills herself all over,
like gasoline, and lights it.
She leaves the taste of salt and iron
under your tongue, but you dont mind
The common woman is as common
as the reddest wine

What Be Your Nerd Type?

So, I found this on Jess' blog and I thought I'd participate.
Is anyone really surprised?

(in truth, I might also verge on being a FOOD NERD... but that wasn't an option!!)

What Be Your Nerd Type?
Your Result: Literature Nerd

Does sitting by a nice cozy fire, with a cup of hot tea/chocolate, and a book you can read for hours even when your eyes grow red and dry and you look sort of scary sitting there with your insomniac appearance? Then you fit this category perfectly! You love the power of the written word and it's eloquence; and you may like to read/write poetry or novels. You contribute to the smart people of today's society, however you can probably be overly-critical of works.

It's okay. I understand.

Drama Nerd
Social Nerd
Artistic Nerd
Gamer/Computer Nerd
Anime Nerd
Science/Math Nerd
What Be Your Nerd Type?
Quizzes for MySpace

The Weekend: in brief

Well, I managed to survive my trek to Chicago -- where I soaked up everything I could possibly ever want to know about recruiting students to graduate programs. I wish I could report that I did some interesting eating while I was there. But, between the seminar and other work-related tasks, I just barely managed to ingest a bit of marginal Mexican food (spinach enchiladas), some unmentionable hummus (from the food court at the MerchMart), and a fairly decent panini (with artichokes).

Peef also survived his evening alone (or not alone, as it were) -- probably having more fun than any of us!

Upon my return, we celebrated with dinner at one of our favorite Milwaukee pizza joints. Pizza Man is always a great place to spend a relaxing evening, and we feasted there on mussels and a spinach artichoke alamode pizza.

The rest of the weekend included:
  1. A trip to Trader Joes for a bit of wine (yay!)
  2. A trip to the farmer's market (even more yay!)
  3. Some CD shopping (our purchases included the new Suzanne Vega, the ONCE soundtrack, Brenda Stahl, and the new Crowded House)
  4. Much playing with our new digital camera (yes, we got one!)
  5. AND Pastitsio! (yum!)

With regard to our new digital camera... that means that, one of these days, we will actually start posting pictures! Aren't you just TOO excited? :)


All by mysaaaa-eeellf

You might think to yourself, "what exactly does Peef do when Lo is the one traveling?" (which is a VERY rare occurance when you compare it to what I'm required to do for MY job). Well...Peef goes out.

It's not because I fear being alone (I can stare at walls for a VERY long time). It's more because I really love music. It's also a convenient way to get out and support my co-workers and their quests to become rock stars. Tonight is a night with Revolush opening for the Melismatics from Minneapolis. Two friends/co-workers of mine play in Revolush.

You know how Lo and I talk a lot about buying organic, or eating natural/local foods? Well we tend to have similar feelings when it comes to music. There isn't a "National" act that can come close to the blood sweat and tears of an original local band. Sure, those mainstream national acts had to go through the blood sweat and tears to get to where they are today...but there is something missing from their acts when they get to a certain level of "accomplishment". This is completely subjective, I realize, but to see a local band do their thing, and do it well, is a great way to spend the night. Plus, if I can find a show during the week that starts at 8 and is done around 10, I just can't pass it up! Long live rock. :)


Loss of a friendly food critic...

I'm sad to report that Milwaukee has lost one of its' greats. Dennis Getto, a local food critic, passed away yesterday. I didn't always agree with his reviews, but he was not only a FIXTURE here in Milwaukee, but one whose reputation preceded him.

The article in the Journal-Sentinel is worth a read, if you have a moment.

Am actually getting ready to head off to Chicago early tomorrow morning. I'll be attending a seminar on recruiting graduate students. Hopefully, it will be prove to be worthwhile. I'm a bit disappointed, as I haven't really had a chance to scope out restaurants in the Chicago area. We'll be staying at the Mart Plaza in River North if any of you have suggestions... I know that Frontera Grill is on my radar, but we'll see if my traveling companion agrees.


Almost Locovores

So, ever since we didn't make the deadline for One Local Summer, we've had local eating on the brain.

It seems, lately, that every meal we make turns into a discussion of where the ingredients originated -- and whether or not we're eating as "locovores." Does it count if our ketchup is manufactured locally? Does the local bread we're eating have to be made with locally grown wheat?

We've already decided that some basic rules apply. While we have access to a local spice distributor, we're CERTAIN we have to rely on imported spices. Likewise, we've determined that our sources for local FLOUR are fairly slim; so we'll have to rely on bread baked by local (independent) bakeries.

Just the other night, as we were feasting on the fruits of our trip to the farmer's market, we managed to pull off a meal in which almost 100% of the ingredients were local. We had grilled corn (from a farm within 30 miles of our home), turkey burgers (made from free-range turkey -- also from a farm in WI) on locally baked multi-grain sourdough bread topped with locally raised portabello mushroom caps. Even the lovely beer we drank (the ever lovely Furthermore Knot Stock -- ale brewed with black pepper) was a local brew -- and one, at that, which would make any beer-loving Wisconsinite proud.

So, what ingredient threw everything off? The ketchup. Which was organic and lovely. But manufactured in California.

We're not sure if we should worry over a condiment or two.
But it's good local food for thought.


Farmer's Market Frenzy

Many of you probably already know about my addiction to the summer farmer's market. My frazzled temperment, if I happen to miss this Saturday morning ritual, is probably the biggest give-away. The symptoms of withdrawal as the weather dampens and cools are also pretty dramatic.

It's true. There's little doubt about where you will find Peef and Lo on any given Saturday morning between the months of June and November. If we're not wandering the market at Cathedral Square or on the East side in the early morning, we'll surely be found at the market in West Allis during the early afternoon. Or even at the Dane County Farmer's Market in Madison, if we're really lucky.

I wish I could say that my urge to forage at the market stems from a virtuous desire to support local farmers and sustainable agriculture. Because I do think those things are vital. But, I have to confess. My motivation is purely selfish. For me, the real treat of the farmer's market is the sheer FRESHNESS of all of that fantastic produce. It's the inspiration it brings me to move forward into another week of cooking and nourishing those people that I love. I go to the market to bask in the smell of the earth and the energy of the sun. I go there to talk with the people who grow MY food. And befriend the vendors who will then give me sneak peaks into their extra-special stashes.

For me, the market is more about the physical experience than anything. And, if I happen to come home with a load of the freshest corn on the whole block... well, that's just a bonus, ain'it?


Art fair findings

In case you're interested, here are some of the artists that we saw (and liked) in Madison.


(incidentally, we have emailed Jay Long to get his permission for the link to his art)


Weekend Update about bowls -- not bowels

The Stout Floats that Lo talked about on Friday were, um, interesting. Check out the Burp! blog for details.

Saturday turned out to be a great day out in Madison for the Art Fair on the Square. Lo and I frequent art fairs all summer long, and we happen to have a huge attraction to anything resembling pottery. At this point, we have a superb collection of ceramic coffee mugs. There are a few platters and other serving type dishes in the mix as well; but the latest craze for us are tiny bowls. I'm not quite sure what makes Lo so excited about these little dishes, but when she sees one that she really likes and discovers that it isn't ridiculously expensive, she gets all giddy... and then proceeds to persuade me to buy about 4 of them. If you saw her reaction for yourself, I think you, too, would be sucked into buying copious amounts of tiny bowls. The joy she gets out of these little bowls is priceless. I'm thinking there's a credit card commercial in there somewhere...

Anyway...back to the Art Fair on the Square. This art fair is one of our favorites since A.) it is free to get in B.) it's HUGE and C.) how cool is it to walk around a state capital building looking at all things artistic? It seems a popular trend in art fairs these days are lawn ornaments. People can't seem to get enough of iron sculptures -- pounded into the shape of a bird, or a flower, or some other "outdoorsy" design. Then there are the "new" mini gazing balls -- finials made from glass or polished stone on a stick. Along those lines, we've found it to be a fairly dangerous activity just walking through the crowds at an art fair where they're selling these. Too many people carrying pointed objects... it's a fiasco! The things we sacrifice for the sake of art! So, we managed to escape Madison before buying TOO much pottery (and before getting impaled). But, if you look closely, you're sure to find a few more little bowls taking up space in our already crowded cupboards. (It makes her so happy... )

Saturday was also my Dad's birthday. Happy Birthday, Dad!

On Sunday, Lo's cousin got married (Congrats Jason and Jamie!). So, we spent the latter half of our day enjoying the festivities. We had a pretty fantastic time; and I was pretty stoked that the reception was held at the Palm Garden connected to my favorite local microbrewery. Lakefront Brewery makes some great beer. If you can't find it at your local store, let me know and I will be sure to bring some Riverwest Stein next time we get together!


Back in Business!

We are the proud owners of a newly INSTALLED (this is an important detail) Wishwasher! I am SO excited to wash my first load of wishes, I can hardly stand it.

To be fair, it's not that I didn't enjoy a bit of dishwashing over the past week. I've always found the process of washing dishes to be somewhat meditative. Warm/hot water is involved. It requires repetitive activity. And it can be done while having a nice conversation or listening to music (two things that make just about any activity better).

No, it's not that I can't appreciate the manual labor aspect. But I can appreciate a number of things about having a dishwasher.
  1. One big perk about a dishwasher is that, when used correctly, it can actually save on water usage. Our new dishwasher has a lovely food grinder, so we'll save time and water by NOT rinsing our dishes too!
  2. I can genuinely appreciate being able to "put away" my dirty dishes in a place where people don't have to look at them.
  3. Being a gal with fairly scant counterspace, I value being able to use the space that was previously inhabited by dirty dishes.
  4. I can use all that time that I would normally spend washing dishes doing other activities.

So -- that's the big news for today. Now that the dishwasher business is out of the way -- what is on tap for Peef and Lo this weekend?

Well, tonight our friends Rebeccca & Michelle are coming over to our house for dinner. We'll be enjoying some of the fabulous Copper River King Salmon that Paul brought back from his trip to Seattle earlier this summer. I'll probably make mashed potatoes and creamed spinach to go alongside (hey, it's Friday!). R&M are bringing beer and vanilla icecream, as we're planning to try out some beer floats for dessert. Sound gross? Don't be too quick to judge!! I'll plan on posting a review over on the BURP! side of things after we've tested them.

I'm not sure what's on the docket for Saturday, although we'll most certainly be visiting a local farmer's market or two to see what's looking particularly delectable in the veggie department. Our CSA box this week contains some pretty interesting items -- about four ears sweet corn, 3 lb new potatoes, Swiss chard, broccoli, green leaf lettuce, kohlrabi, celery, Walla Walla onion, green bell pepper, cucumber. But we always like to supplement with whatever is new and fresh. I must admit, I'm very excited that corn is back in season. It's one of my favorite things about summer!

Mmm. The thought of all that farm fresh goodness is making me drool. Must be time for lunch!


New Office = New Woman?

I'm wiping the last of the dust from my brow as I settle in from this week's move. At long last, I have finally been granted a "real" office at work. And the feeling couldn't be sweeter.

Yes, I shall miss my old cube. It was very cozy. Some might call it small; but I like to think that it was quaint. It was also conveniently located near the bathroom, which means I always had visitors. With so much traffic around, I also had to share my desk (people frequently "borrowed" my stapler, paperclips, pens, and whatnot). Being located near the departmental mailboxes means that I was always first to get my mail. Being located right next to the copier machine, on the other hand, turned out to be a two edged sword. No, I didn't have to walk very far to make my copies. But I also got to listen to everyone else making THEIRS.

So, it's different. Having an Office.
  • I have a door, which I can close on a whim.
  • I have windows (two), from which I can glimpse crabapple blossoms in the spring, and snow in the dead of winter (oh yes! And I can OPEN them!! Bonus!).
  • I have a Very Nice desk (grey metal/cherry vaneer), which I can clutter up with work.
  • Incidently, I also have my very own fax machine. So I never have to walk down the hall to send a fax again... I think that's probably a perk, although these days I don't send many faxes.
I was sitting here today, thinking about how weird it is that I could shut the world OUT of my office for a while, and actually get work done. It's amazing, the difference that a door makes.


I've been tagged.

So, Jess tagged me (first time for everything).
Being a newbie, I ran across some rules to follow when playing tag. So, here goes:

  • Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
  • People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
  • At the end of your blog post, you should choose eight people to get tagged and list their names.
  • Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged, and to read your blog.

Here are Eight Wondrous (and Lesser Known) Things about the Lo:

  1. When I was in high school, I had an alter ego named Larry who lived in our basement. We fed him through a hole in the dining room floor.
  2. I once snuck out of my dorm with a few of my friends and stole hoards of red tulips from the football field a few blocks from my college dorm. We brought them back in our garbage cans and decorated our rooms with them.
  3. Having been labeled a "foodie" by many, I find it difficult to admit that I have a real THING for Doritos... but I do. Even though they make my breath smell.
  4. I have ALWAYS wanted a nose ring. And lately, I've been tempted to act upon my impulse to get one.
  5. I've developed a pseudo obsession with the show "So You Think You Can Dance." I've always dreamt of being a dancer (despite the very obvious roadblocks); so I think this vicariously fills some deep, dark desire.
  6. I would love to write a novel, but I don't seem to have the patience for such a long work (poetry and essays are more my speed).
  7. I dream about owning my own restaurant (BURP!)... but I'm not sure I could actually follow through. I think I enjoy the dreaming more than the reality.
  8. Sometimes I don't recognize the girl I was in high school. What happened to her??

Tag: Officially Peef ; the rest of you are optionally tagged.
(Sorry! Rule #3 violated. Apparently I need a larger blogging community!)


Better Late Than...

OK. So, we haven't started off being terribly good bloggers.
After all, we let a major holiday fly right past without even passing comment (happy very late 4th of July, everyone!).

Rest assured, we're working on getting better. Eventually, we'll be posting like crazy. And hopefully, someday, we'll even start getting people to COMMENT on what we write (hint, hint).

We hope you'll be content to know that we had a very nice holiday. We celebrated with the prerequisite grilled foods, and even set off a few (legal) fireworks to mark the day. Our meager time off of work was not nearly enough... and, even after the weekend, we were left with a sort of disappointed feeling in the backs of our throats.

HOWEVER, all of that aside, a few notable things have occurred in the past few days that I feel we should share.

  1. We purchased a new dishwasher. Some of you might know that our old "wishwasher" has been on the fritz. And so, after long last, we put our pennies together and bought a brand new one. Which was supposed to be installed today.
  2. We went to an art fair where I was able to indulge my addiction to ceramic bowls... yes, I have a problem. But, I only spent $26. On THREE bowls. And they're positively fantastic.
  3. We had a phenomenal "CSA dinner" with our friends Steph and Nate on Saturday evening. Yes, it's true. Read about that on our BURP! blog.

Now -- back to the topic of the dishwasher, which I think warrants more space. You know how you work yourself UP TO something? And then, when it happens, it never quite lives up to all the hype?

Yeah, that's kind of how it happened with the dishwasher. We were SO excited to find a pretty great dishwasher. ON SALE. And we got even more excited when we found out that they could schedule us for a delivery and installation right away on Monday (yes, that is today). We could hardly contain ourselves. And so we didn't. We did a happy dance, right there in the department store parking lot. We even went home and cooked up a lovely celebration dinner of grilled pizza (fresh mozzarella, homemade pesto, and tomatoes... YUM!).

So, you can imagine what a state we were in by the time Monday arrived. We were excited. We could hardly sleep. We practically LEAPT out of bed at 5am to work out (OK -- so maybe that's a stretch; but you see what we mean).

I spent my entire morning at work dreaming about the loads of filthy dishes I could clean with that NEW, quiet machine (can you imagine? sheer bliss.). Peef went home on his lunch break to facilitate the delivery and installation process. The worker bees arrived (on schedule) with our dishwasher. They removed our old dishwasher. They surveyed our work on the pipes and water supply lines under the kitchen sink and complimented us our extraordinary plumbing skills (yes, they really did). They prepped everything to move the new dishwasher into place! And. And. And we should have known that everything was going too well.

Thanks to our lovely (new-ish) Durastone flooring, the darned tall-tub wouldn't fit under the sink. We will have to cut away about 2 inches of the new flooring in order to finagle the new wishwasher underneath. Big deal? Nah. We can handle that. However, the installation could not happen today.

We're now the proud new owners of a big cavern in the kitchen. And our pretty, shiny wishwasher is sitting out in the dirty, old garage... where it cannot possibly wash our very dirty dishes.

The UP side (and there always IS an up side) of all of this is that we are THIS close to a new dishwasher. And our time WILL come. We just have to exercise a bit of patience.


Bathroom Remodel: Take One

For those of you interested in our progress in fixing up the nasty bathroom (see entry from June 22), I'm pleased to say that we finally met with our mortgage company. The great news is that we have a bit of equity, despite having lived in our home for only a few years. The even better news is that now we can actually move forward with our plans for a bathroom rennovation.

SO, we met with a prospective contractor last night to discuss some of our options. Overall, it looks like we'll be able to do quite a bit with the money we have at our disposal. Beyond the obvious cosmetic changes, we'll definitely be ditching the cheap, leaky, plastic "neo-angle" shower we have going on (and likely replacing it with a custom tiled shower). And we'll probably be adding a bit more storage space. It's actually quite exciting to think that we'll be able to transform the room that's been haunting Lo's dreams for a long time now into something with which we'll both be really happy. I have a feeling it will transform our entire attitude toward the house in general. Not to mention the fact that it will add quite a bit of value.

In other news, we're officially closing in on our plans for the 4th of July and subsequent weekend. Despite our initial plans to hang out and take it easy for a number of days, it looks like we're going to be busy little bees. It's getting to the point where we've actually turned DOWN our third offer for a get-together (which makes us very sad!). Amid the many activities on the roster, we'll be replacing the shocks on our car (whee!) and shopping for a new dishwasher to replace our old, leaky one. Not all that mentionable.

That said, not all of our plans are humdrum. For instance, we have a variety of plans with friends and family. For instance, on Saturday, we actually have a "CSA dinner" planned with our friends Steph & Nate (during which we cook with foods we got in our Community Supported Agriculture box). The joy of such a dinner is that it invokes our spontaneous planning abilities, as we often don't know what will be in our CSA box until the day before it arrives. Such a dinner requires quick wit, collaboration, and a keen sense of adventure. This week, we could see vegetables as exciting as broccoli, kohlrabi, and lettuce... I wonder if anything will make the menu over at BURP! ?


Really Cool Idea -- One Local Summer

So, Pocket Farm has announced One Local Summer. This is an extraordinarily cool idea... so I'm lamenting the fact that I didn't read about it earlier. The concept is to choose one night per week to eat food that is completely local.

Now -- Peef and I have made it one of our goals to eat AS MUCH local food AS POSSIBLE. We are constantly checking packages for information about where a product is made (and therefore how FAR it had to go to get to us). So, this is right up our alley.

Sign up is closed for this year. But I could see this being a really interesting project. We could TOTALLY do this during the summer in Wisconsin (and we've been focusing a great deal lately on buying local and supporting local agriculture) -- so it's something I'll have to keep in mind for future years. On top of all of that, it would give us something to yak about on our BURP! blog (which is always a bonus)!

You can check out what meals look like regionally on the One Local Summer blog.