Celebrate Banned Books Week!

Peef and Lo want to remind you not to forget to celebrate Banned Books Week.
The 26th annual BB week begins on September 29 (that's Sunday) and runs through October 6, 2007.

There are plenty of things you can do to observe BBWeek... but you don't have to organize a reading group or stage an event to participate.

Simply take the time to think about your RIGHT to read -- and what that really means. Consider individuals who have been persecuted because of their writings. And celebrate the freedom you enjoy to read what you choose.

Ten Most Challenged Books of 2006:

"And Tango Makes Three" by Justin Richardson and Peter Parnell, for homosexuality, anti-family, and unsuited to age group;

"Gossip Girls" series by Cecily Von Ziegesar for homosexuality, sexual content, drugs, unsuited to age group, and offensive language;

"Alice" series by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor for sexual content and offensive language;

"The Earth, My Butt, and Other Big Round Things" by Carolyn Mackler for sexual content, anti-family, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

"The Bluest Eye" by Toni Morrison for sexual content, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

"Scary Stories" series by Alvin Schwartz for occult/Satanism, unsuited to age group, violence, and insensitivity;

"Athletic Shorts" by Chris Crutcher for homosexuality and offensive language;

"The Perks of Being a Wallflower" by Stephen Chbosky for homosexuality, sexually explicit, offensive language, and unsuited to age group;

"Beloved" by Toni Morrison for offensive language, sexual content, and unsuited to age group;

"The Chocolate War" by Robert Cormier for sexual content, offensive language, and violence.


Something I read today: Marge Piercy

Marge Piercy poem: Each Day, One More

What can they do
to you? Whatever they want.
They can set you up, they can
bust you, they can break
your fingers, they can
burn your brain with electricity,
blur you with drugs till you
can't walk, can't remember, they can
take your child, wall up
your lover. They can do anything
you can't stop them
from doing. How can you stop
them? Alone, you can fight,
you can refuse, you can
take what revenge you can
but they roll over you.
But two people fighting
back to back can cut through
a mob, a snake-dancing file
can break a cordon, an army
can meet an army.

Two people can keep each other
sane, can give support, conviction,
love, massage, hope, sex.
Three people are a delegation,
a committee, a wedge. With four
you can play bridge and start
an organization. With six
you can rent a whole house,
eat pie for dinner with no
seconds, and hold a fund raising party.
A dozen make a demonstration.
A hundred fill a hall.
A thousand have solidarity and your own newsletter;
ten thousand, power and your own paper;
a hundred thousand, your own media;
ten million, your own country.

It goes on one at a time,
it starts when you care
to act, it starts when you do
it again after they said no,
it starts when you say We
and know who you mean, and each
day you mean one more.

From The Moon Is Always Female, by Marge Piercy
Copyright 1980 by Marge Piercy


Sustainable Thinking

As most of you know, Peef and I are pretty devoted to the idea of eating locally and supporting the philosophies of slow food. We haven't gotten to the point where I feel that we really do enough; but, we've made progress. We belong to a CSA, we make weekly trips to the farmer's market, we belong to a local co-op. Despite our lack of acreage, we even cultivate a small yard of vegetables and herbs during Wisconsin's short summers. Sometimes we pay just a little bit more for food that we know is ultra-fresh and flavorful. We also spend time nurturing our families and friends with food that we prepared with them in mind.

But, despite those things, it occurred to me that we probably haven't taken the time to really lay out the details of why we do what we do. So, I took the time this week to get down to business. And here are some of the reasons why we've chosen to support local agriculture. Some of the answers are familiar (trite, even). Others maybe not quite so much. You can decide for yourself.

  1. Local food just tastes better. No lies... that warm sun-kissed tomato I just picked from the backyard will ALWAYS win when compared to the pale, under-ripe variety I can find at the grocery store.
  2. Nutrition. Pure and simple. Some would argue that the jury is still out on whether organic is more nutritious than conventional produce. But, I have a hard time believing that food produced on factory farms and transported sometimes thousands of miles before it gets to market can beat out locally-grown produce. Well-balanced soils produce strong, healthy plants that become truly nourishing food. So, I'm going to put my money where my mouth is.

  3. Doing what feels right keeps us healthier. Totally getting a kick out of eating luscious, local strawberries (or apples, or soybeans, or chard) means that, in the end, we eat more fruits and vegetables. How can that be a bad thing?

  4. Buying local supports the local economy. I mean -- why not? We live here.

  5. Buying local conserves fuel. Australian apples? I don't care HOW organic they are! Give me freshness from my own backyard as often as possible.

  6. It's fun to buy from someone you know. Don't you have more fun when you buy your veggies at the farmer's market? For me, nothing beats meeting the farmer that grew my veg. And talking with him about how much he enjoys his work.

  7. So really -- the final reason really is that buying local FEELS good. And right.

Tell me When.

I'm closing my eyes. And I'm not opening them back up again until it's really fall. OK?

Officially, fall fell two days ago, during the Autumnal Equinox. But, apparently, somebody didn't get the memo. The weather here in Wisconsin has gone positively berserk.

Prior to the 21st of September, we experienced some very pleasant autumn-like temperatures. Daytime highs in the 60's. Evening lows in the 40's. Explain to me, then, how this past weekend could have given us daytime highs in the mid-high 80's. And how those (hot) temps have endured straight on through the first portion of this week. Yesterday, we hit a high temp of 88ºF (last year, on the same day, our high was 66º).

Come on! That's not even fair! I'd already begun transitioning my lifestyle in a more autumnal direction. I was so excited about the advent of fall weather two weeks ago that I went and dug out my POLAR FLEECE PANTS. I put away my sandals. I took OFF my toe-nail polish and started wearing SOCKS. I pulled out my SOUP recipes. Heck, people, I made a PORK ROAST that baked in the oven for three and a half hours on Friday! (These are not things you do when it's 87ºF outside)

Gratefully, it looks like a cold front might be coming in as early as this evening. Tomorrow's forecast looks more like a balmy 64ºF. *whew* This girl, who would be thrilled to death if temperatures would never again reach levels above 74ºF, is very relieved.


Another Blur of a Weekend

I thought I'd check in briefly to let those of you who are interested know that we LOVED the roasted pork we made on Friday night. I've posted the recipe over at BURP! so that you can try it out for yourself. The "melted apples" made a fantastic gravy for the roast -- which was unbelievably tender and uber flavorful. We'd make the roast again in a heartbeat (albeit using a bit less salt next time).

We had a great deal of fun on the Sprecher tour, after which we came back to our place and enjoyed our dinner "al fresco" to take advantage of the great weather (which settled into the low seventies for most of the day. Our feast included burgers (with a wide selection of toppings), green salad, potato salad, and grilled green beans. OH, yes! And "car bombs" for dessert. These beauties were slightly reminiscent of the stout floats we experimented with back in July -- but, they were actually really tasty. You can find our improvised recipe HERE.

Also had a great time with Kris & Kris on Sunday! It was nice to take the time to catch up with them and really get a good visit in.

The week looks as though it's going to be pretty busy here. And the weather is going to be just bizarre! It's in the eighties today -- and feeling downright HOT outside. Tomorrow is scheduled to be more of the same, maybe with some rain thrown in for good measure.

Where, oh where, is the fall that I so desire??!!


Dragging our Booty Into the Weekend

So... Paul had a great time yesterday, observing International Talk Like a Pirate Day. He hauled his BOOTY in to work, and chatted up a storm with his fellow mates.

Seems people in his office are a little more receptive to being quirky and outlandish than people where I work. Can you believe that NOT ONE person here even mentioned that it was Talk Like a Pirate Day?! Blasted Landlubbers...

We're a bit sad to return to normalcy at our house. But, fortunately for us, we have a crazy-busy weekend to distract us!

Friday, it's "catch up with Steph & Nate" night. S&N just returned from a trip to France, so we're excited to hear all their great stories, and see some of their photos. I'm bringing a slow cooked pork roast to the table, and Steph is providing the rest of the meal. If the roast is good enough for BURP! I'll post something for y'all to look at after the weekend.

Saturday, we'll be running a few errands (and making our weekly pilgrimage to the farmer's market) and doing a bit of clean-up around the house. But, round about 1pm or so, we're heading off for a tour of the Sprecher Brewery with our friends Rebecca & Michelle, who also happen to be our partners in crime when it comes to all things beer-related. Once we exhaust the good times to be had a the brewery, we'll be traipsing back to our pad for some grilled burgers, potato salad, and green beans. And, if all goes well, we'll be trying out the infamous STOUT FLOATS again (this time, we're going to add some Irish whiskey and chocolate to the mix and see if those flavors appeal a bit more).

Sunday, it's off to visit Paul's aunt Kris -- who we haven't seen enough of in the past year. We'll hang out there in the afternoon, have some dinner, and then make the drive back home again to turn in for some good old fashioned rest.



Don't forget to don some PIRATTITUDE today, since it's International Talk Like a Pirate Day! This 24-hour celebration of quirkiness is one of Peef and Lo's favorite days.

Learn more here!

Peef's pirate name be:

Dread Pirate Vane

Like the famous Dread Pirate Roberts, you have a keen head for how to make a profit. You tend to blend into the background occaisionally, but that's okay, because it's much easier to sneak up on people and disembowel them that way. Arr!

And Lo's be:

Black Mary Bonney

Like anyone confronted with the harshness of robbery on the high seas, you can be pessimistic at times. You can be a little bit unpredictable, but a pirate's life is far from full of certainties, so that fits in pretty well. Arr!

Get your own pirate name from
part of the network


A Soup Slip

So, today turned out to be a real Monday.
If you had warned me upon waking that I was going to wish I had stayed in bed, I probably wouldn't have believed you. But, that shows you how much I know.

Sure, it was a bit nasty trying to get up for work. But morning always comes a bit too early for my taste (especially after a good weekend); so, that wasn't a big change. In fact, the morning was rather pleasant. The drive in to work was even better-than-average, and we found ourselves feeling quite smug for finally cracking the code regarding what time it's best to leave in the morning without hitting nasty traffic on the way across town.

Work was rattling along just fine by about noon. In fact, I'd just had a discussion with a colleague about how much I'd gotten done already!

Even better, since the weather was turning out to be quite pleasant, we decided that it might be nice to take our lunches outside for a change. I went into the other room and heated up the bowl of roasted tomato soup that I'd brought to work for lunch. Brought it back to my desk, grabbed my apple, and

WHOMP! That's when it happened.
Homemade tomato soup all the way DOWN my shirt... into the waistband of my pants!!

As shocked as I was to find myself bathing in soup, I am quite sure that the soup was also quite horrified to find itself so utterly displaced.

There were two things that made the situation VERY fortunate indeed. One is that the microwave at work is VERY old, and doesn't seem to heat up soup to a very high temperature (even when one follows the proper heating instructions). The second is that, although I managed to splash my lovely new desk calendar with soup, not a drop made it down onto the brand new carpeting on the floor of my office -- which I found pretty nifty, considering how much soup seemed to have escaped down my blouse.

The thought occurred to me that I might be able to clean up enough to remain at work. Until I caught a WHIFF of myself. Yes, the soup smelled lovely in the bowl. But it was NOT the stuff that perfumes are made of.

Today's lesson: However tasty, tomato soup is not portable.

Ears of Peef

So, here is a long overdue list of bands that I think everyone should know about. Some I saw while at the South By Southwest music festival this last spring (that’s how long I have been meaning to put this list together). Others are local bands that are worth checking out if they happen to come to your neighborhood. So…here it is complete with links to the band’s myspace page or website so you can listen for yourselves. Enjoy:

From SXSW music festival or have stumbled upon this year:
Aesop Rock
Lily Allen
Bishop Allen (no relation to Lily)
Bloc Party
The Bravery
Brazilian Girls
Brandi Carlile
The Cinematics
Stephanie Dosen (originally from Milwaukee)
Dusty Rhodes and the River Band
The Frames

Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly
The Gossip

My Brightest Diamond
Fionn Regan
Josh Ritter

Milwaukee bands:

Blonde on Blonde
The Monday Saga
Peter Mulvey
Northern Room
Hayward Williams


On the Cusp of Something Wonderful

Grill Fest 2007, as fabulous as it was, has come and gone.
And that has both Peef and I yearning for our next great cooking adventure. Fortunately for us, we are on the cusp of something wonderful. Something called Fall.

You may (or may not) already know how much Peef and Lo get excited about autumn. If you're not familiar with our grande affection for fallen leaves and apple crisps, snuggley sweaters and wind-swept walks, then you're in for a treat.

One of the things that usually marks the beginning of fall at our house is the resurrection of what we call "cooking days." These are days when we devote ourselves to recipes that require uncommon amounts of time and dedication. Cooking days not only result in the creation of fabulous meals; but, they also give us a chance to bond over one of our very favorite activities. As an added bonus, even in the wilds of Wisconsin we have farmer's markets that continue through the end of October. So, we'll be keeping pace with our weekly trip to the market. And we'll be bringing home all sorts of goodies -- including autumn apples, winter squash, and any other goodies on which we can get our hot little hands.

Cooking days are aborted during the summer months. NOT because there is any lack of desire for lovely dinners, but because we try to devote ourselves to meals that require LESS work in the kitchen. After all, it's a waste of time and resources to heat up the kitchen when it's 90º outside. Wouldn't you agree? We do, in fact, do quite a bit of cooking during the summer. After all, we have access to ALL the lovely food from our CSA box, the farmer's market, and our backyard garden. But, it's simply not on the same level as what we do during the fall (and even winter) months.

Fall is also a great time of the year because we fill it up with wonderful things like visits to apple orchards, whole days dedicated to composting leaves for the vegetable garden, and hours spent searching for JUST the right pumpkin to adorn our home during the harvest season.

Lo has been inspired by something Jess said on her blog just yesterday.
Embracing the scholarly and serious attitude of September, I've decided that the best cure for my confusion is honesty. Honesty with myself and other people, when it will be For Good, even when it will be hard. This isn't to say that I'm not honest already--I like to think that I am a very honest person--this is more like active honesty. Honesty that seeks out nefarious confusion and badness and makes short work of it. Antibacterial honesty. Scrubbing bubbles honesty!
Being a bit OBSESSED with honesty myself, I can't think of a better plan. So, in the spirit of autumn, let's dedicate ourselves to antibacterial honesty. You on board?