The Exceedingly Busy (but fun) Weekend

You simply won't believe how booked up we are this weekend.
It's all fun stuff; but lawdy! When will we do the laundry?

Our itinerary:
Friday: Paul will work. I'll work, but leave at noon. Then, I'll get my hair cut, run errands (grocery shopping, a stop at the cooking supply store), and come home to cook dinner for friends, Steph & Nate (the dinner we've rescheduled twice, due to busy lives and weather). We'll be eating pork posole for dinner, with pear "burritos" for dessert (if they're good, I might consider posting the recipe).

Saturday: We have goodies to make. Then we'll clean house (do laundry??), and then go to a birthday party for Brandon.

Sunday: Church. Grocery shopping for the week. Then, we'll come home to cook more food (friends coming for dinner again, this time it's Rebecca and Michelle for vegetarian bbq tempeh sammiches and sweet potato fries). After dinner, we'll take off with said friends to attend a 6:30pm performance of Avenue Q.

Can't wait. But, I'm tired already just thinking about it.

Something I Read Today: For the Young Who Want To

Marge Piercy always seems to speak to me.
This is another good one I ran across today in my meanderings.

For the Young Who Want To
Marge Piercy

Talent is what they say
you have after the novel
is published and favorably
reviewed. Beforehand what
you have is a tedious
delusion, a hobby like knitting.

Work is what you have done
after the play is produced
and the audience claps.
Before that friends keep asking
when you are planning to go
out and get a job.

Genius is what they know you
had after the third volume
of remarkable poems. Earlier
they accuse you of withdrawing,
ask why you don't have a baby,
call you a bum.

The reason people want M.F.A.'s,
take workshops with fancy names
when all you can really
learn is a few techniques,
typing instructions and some-
body else's mannerisms

is that every artist lacks
a license to hang on the wall
like your optician, your vet
proving you may be a clumsy sadist
whose fillings fall into the stew
but you're certified a dentist.

The real writer is one
who really writes. Talent
is an invention like phlogiston
after the fact of fire.
Work is its own cure. You have to
like it better than being loved.

Copyright 1980, Middlemarsh, Inc. from THE MOON IS ALWAYS FEMALE Alfred A. Knopf, New York


Envision It: Music Geeks at Work

What I envision Paul does at work
(with thanks to xkcd).

The Lost Day 2008

Tomorrow is February 29th.
It's a rarity. More rare than other dates anyhow. Happening only once every four years, it has a bit of a mystique.

Do babies born on this day have unusual talents? How do they celebrate their birthdays? Is this a day on which normal social rules simply do not apply?

I, myself, like to think of this day as the "lost" day. It's an "extra" in a life that offers so few spiffs... a time to make up for lost time, to get a head start on a project, to catch up on sleep.

On the other hand, some of our friends have had a really ROUGH February, so it seems cruel to make them endure an extra day, all in the name of keeping our calendar in alignment with the earth's revolutions around the sun...

So, I'm torn.

Seems there is a lot of celebrating going on here in Milwaukee.
Seems to be all good -- beer, wine, fish.
Come to think of it, maybe celebrating is a good approach!!

How will YOU mark the Lost Day 2008??


Something I Read Today: Food Haikus!

Peef pointed me to yesterday's entry on
Yes, it's Michael Pollan again (yes, he's the very happy bald guy in the picture). But, this time he comes complete with food haikus!!
Like this one:

Earl Butz
Liked his corn
In cups

And this one:

Worm bin
Daily food scraps
Happy worms

I LOVE happy worms!!

Who's Winning? Soup Night Votes Update

Votes for "virtual chilis" are streaming in... and a strong lead is developing.

The winning chili will appear at our last 2008 Soup Night on April 6, 2008, joining two other favorites: Creamy Potato and Broccoli & Red Pepper Chowder.

So, if you have any strong feelings about the matter, don't forget to email your favorite to peefandlo @ We'll be posting the results on Friday!

The contenders:
  1. Buffalo chicken chili - a "game day" favorite with ground chicken, celery, and a tangy, spicy buffalo sauce
  2. Cowboy chili - a delectable stew of cubed pork shoulder, black-eyed peas, smoky bacon, red peppers and chipotle pepper
  3. Veg-head chili - a vegetarian delight featuring three beans (white, black, & red), butternut squash, carrots, peppers, and corn in a rich, spicy tomato base


Something I Read Today: Common Sense

OK, I'm a little bit insulted.
Apparently, we all need someone like Mark Bittman to tell us all about kitchen basics.

Check out this article in the NY Times.
I'll give him that these are common myths (and probably prevalent). But, that's all I'll give him.

Anyone who has tried his/her hand at guacamole knows that putting the avocado pit in the guacamole doesn't keep the dip from browning. You'll really only try that "trick" once.

And don't get me started on the semantics when we start saying that a microwave "bakes" anything...

Some of you may know that I am NOT Mr. Bittman's biggest fan by a long shot. So, feel free to disregard my criticism if you feel I'm being unusually harsh. I probably am.

Upset pets

What happens when you have to treat the whole herd with ear mite medication on a quiet Monday evening? We'll give you a hint: nobody's happy.






Knocking that Post Down

What's with the Cheshire cat?

Not really sure. I just had to get that YouTube video off the top of the page. It was driving me crazy.

Those of you who can now claim relief from the evil EAR WORM can thank me later :)


Total Eclipse

There is a Lunar Eclipse tonight. And you should watch this video when it happens.


Something I read today: Food Meets Politics

In light of the Wisconsin Primary, I thought these political summaries from The Kitchn were somewhat appropriate.

What do each of the 2008 presidential candidates have to say about food, agriculture, organics, sustainable farming and other key issues in today's food economy?

Hilary Clinton
Barack Obama
John McCain

We've been tagged...

... by Jess.
We're tagging all of you. Give us your feedback in comments.

Books on our night stand:
(On our ACTUAL night stand)
The Golden Compass (Philip Pullman)
The Carnivorous Carnival (Lemony Snicket)
The Message Remix (Eugene H. Peterson)

(lying elsewhere in the house)
Gentlemen and Players (Joanne Harris)
Stardust (Neil Gaiman)

Music for our (collective) Souls:
our new "love mix" on iPod that Peef created for the soup night that never was.

we're also pretty stoked about the re-release of THRILLER... and the new R.E.M.

Movies We Watch Over and Over Again:
(We're stretching this to include some "non-movies")
Flight of the Conchords
If Lucy Fell
Dead Poets Society
South Park (episodes, not the movie)

Movies We'd Like to See Again:

Pushing Daisies
Cooking shows on PBS
Independent Lens
Austin City Limits

We Voted! So should you!

We got up bright and early this morning and cast our votes in the Wisconsin primary! In return,we got really cool stickers to wear.

I know it's difficult for some of you to imagine that we didn't go just to get the stickers, but it's true. We were really stoked about exercising our democratic right and privilege. And we'd encourage all of you Wisconsinites to get out and do the same!

And when you're done fulfilling your civic duty (and picking up that really cool sticker), we'd invite you to cast a vote for your virtual favorite soup!


What You Missed: Vote for a Winner!

Since we cancelled Soup Night, we figured we'd let you in on what you missed (or, rather, what we would have made if we hadn't decided to cancel).

Soup Night was going to be a celebration of chilis!
Here are the three soups we had on tap:
  • Cowboy chili - a delectable stew of cubed pork shoulder, black-eyed peas, smoky bacon, red peppers and chipotle pepper
  • Veg-head chili - a vegetarian delight featuring three beans (white, black, & red), butternut squash, carrots, peppers, and corn in a rich, spicy tomato base
  • Buffalo chicken chili - a "game day" favorite with ground chicken, celery, and a tangy, spicy buffalo sauce

Toppings would have included green onions, sour cream, avocado, cilantro, smoked white cheddar cheese, monterey jack cheese, and bleu cheese.

Now that we've got you drooling, we want to make a proposal. We know that you didn't get to sample the soups, but we're in need of a winner to make an appearance at our final 2008 soup night on April 6th. So, we're going to ask you to weigh in!

Take this opportunity to vote for your suspected favorite! To vote, send an email to peefandlo at with the subject line: SOUP NIGHT VOTE.

Feel free to vote, even if you've never been to soup night (since no one got to sample the soups, this is ALL about the numbers).

We'll count up the votes and announce the winner on the blog by Friday, February 29th.


Too Soupy for Soup Night

**** BURP! BURP! BURP! *****
We bring you the following emergency announcement from the BURP! kitchen.

Due to the soupy-icy-blechy weather (which includes freezing rain, sleet, and snow... exacerbated by freezing temperatures to come later) we are calling off our lovely soup night plans.

Sad, we know -- but we'd rather that you all stayed safe and warm, rather than risking your lives out on the nasty icy roads.

Take care -- and we'll see you all on APRIL 6th!


How Peef and Lo Spend Valentine's Day

It's not what you might expect.
We did end up having a very lovely dinner last night. But first we had to live through a pretty traumatic experience.

Imagine this.
It was about 7:15pm. IPOD was playing a collection of songs with the word "love" in the title (there are a remarkable number of songs that begin with the word love!). Peef was busily unloading the dishwasher and finishing up the last of the pans we'd neglected to put away the night before. Lo was slicing and dicing and prepping everything so that they could start cooking dinner. She had a small saucepan of bagna cauda simmering on the stove (which SMELLED fantastic), and she had just heated up a bit of olive oil to begin sauteeing the mushrooms. She went into the cupboard (the corner cabinet with the lazy susan) to get a bit of cornmeal, in which she planned to dredge the sea scallops, when she saw a horrifying sight. Somehow, the molasses in the cupboard had been upset. It was lying on its side, uncovered, and molasses was dripping slowly down the side of the cabinet, and into the cupboard space below the lazy susan.

This is NOT Peef and Lo's cupboard. But, it gives you a visual to work with. Imagine the entire space below the lazy susan filled with blackstrap molasses.

Lo was horrified. She tried to tuck her hand under the lazy susan to begin wiping up the mess. But, there simply wasn't enough room for her to adequately reach underneath. The molasses had seeped all the way to the back of the cupboard -- and had coated the entire cupboard floor with 1/4 inch of oogey sticky blackness.

Lo's brain filled with visions of a summer day -- ants marching two-by-two into the house and gathering underneath the kitchen cabinets, where they could happily slurp molasses to their hearts' content.

Lo fiddled with the screws on the lazy susan. Peef unscrewed the post which supported the carousel. Panic hit when they realized that there was no good way to remove the lazy susan from the cupboard to get underneath. Their only option would be to remove the cupboard door and try to wedge a rag back under the carousel to get the sticky mess out.

And that's what they did. Well, first Lo took a spatula and scraped out as much molasses as she could from underneath. Then, Peef filled and refilled buckets of water for her as she swabbed the area to get rid of the sticky mess.

Finally, at about 9pm, the cupboard was back to normal.
Peef finished putting the canned goods back into the cupboard, and Lo got back to preparing dinner. By 9:30pm, they were half collapsed on the couch, trying to enjoy their very late (but delicious) feast.


Sunday is Soup Night!

Don't forget! We're cooking up some soup again this Sunday (2/17), and you're invited!

Come alone; or bring a friend.
Soup's on, starting at about 4:30pm.
We're not revealing specifics, but rumor has it that all the soups are in keeping with a "red" theme this time.

Bet you can't guess what we're serving!
Could be one of your new favorites... No way to know unless you show up!

Something I read today: Perseopolis

So, I was reading throught the predicted list of Oscar nominees today, and checked into a few movies I've not seen.

In doing so, I stumbled upon a movie that I absolutely must see: Perseopolis I hope this movie gets the accolades it seems to deserve.

Incidentally, I also stumbled upon a new band today. Another Cynthia.
They're from Portland... and they appear to be pretty good. And they're self produced, which is cool.


Tons of Snow? Is it true?

They're talking about record snowfalls this year. Wisconsin is already above the norm for snowfall this year... and it keeps coming down.

It certainly FEELS like we've gotten a ton of snow. I keep finding myself telling people that the amount of snow we've gotten is CRAZY. But, I'll be honest. I know that I have the "gift of gab." It was passed down to me by a few good generations of Irish Washerwomen, and it predisposes me to a bit of... er... exaggerating.

All this talk made me wonder if we just have trouble remembering what winter in Wisconsin is really like. So, I did a google search. Found this (some fun history about snow storms). And this (includes pictures of snow in Milwaukee).

And it turns out we've had a few memorable snowfalls here in Southeastern Wisconsin -- and quite a number of them in my lifetime. Here's a nice little retrospective from the National Weather people. Turns out I remember a couple of the doozies. First, there was the storm in January, 1999 that kept us from travelling to Minnesota to celebrate Christmas with Paul's family... Then, there was that little storm that I shoveled while Paul was at NAMM in 2005...

Exaggerating. Exsmaggerating...


It snowed. So, we hauled out the grill.

What could be better when there is 16 inches of snow on the ground than haul out the grill and make burgers?

That's what we said on Friday night!

We ran out to the grocery store to get some bread, meat, and some sweet potatoes (to make fries). Steph came over with a couple of bottles of wine. We poured our glasses, and we headed outside to load the grill with charcoal.
The fire took a bit longer than average to get started. But, once it was blazing, I can't begin to describe how lovely we found the smoky smell that emanated from our little grill. Despite the cold, despite the flurries that threatened to douse the fire, despite everything... the experience was reminiscent of summer.

And those burgers... well, they tasted simply fabulous.

If you've never hauled the grill out in early February after a good snow storm, I'd highly recommend it.


And then there was snow...

The Big Nasty Storm dumped somewhere between 12-16 inches. There was also drifting to deal with. And plows. The snow was Evil Stuff; it blew smack dab onto our house and STUCK there, obscuring our view out of our windows and covering everything with a snowy overcoat. Oh, and it was the wet stuff too, so it was nice and heavy. I'm a bit surprised that Lo and I made it out of bed this morning!


Greetings from the Blustery North

It's true. We're getting blasted with snow. Quite seriously this time (none of this 4-6" business for us, no sirree). The University even called things off, so Lo got a real snow day, which almost never happens (universities like to lure their employees to work and then send them home right in the middle of the biggest snowstorm ever -- so calling things off in good time is a welcome relief).

It's the sort of day when you just want to curl up with a cup of hot chocolate and while the day away reading some fantastic novel... but which really ends up to be more like the sort of day when you tromp outside every 3 hours or so to shovel, just so that you don't have to break your back trying to get rid of 12" all at once.

It's also a good day to download fun pictures off of the digital camera. What better to cheer you than kids and cats? (OK -- one kid, and four cats)

EXHIBIT A: Our niece, "O," at her birthday party (last Sunday). Looking Oh-So-Fashionable.

EXHIBIT B: Zoe, being a freak.

EXHIBIT C: Yoyo, folding her hands.

EXHIBIT D: Izzie Mae, lurking around the corner (as she is prone to do).

EXHIBIT E: Elmo, sucking the last of the warmth out of the heating vent.


Found Grocery List #1

Maybe you've heard of found art?
Well, we seem predisposed to finding abandoned grocery lists.
After finding our third grocery list in a matter of weeks, I told Peef that we were going to start blogging about them.

I'm convinced that a grocery list says a great deal about a person. There are all sorts of variables -- the paper it's written on, the language that's used, the abbreviations used, the language chosen to express real, basic needs. Grocery lists are thought-provoking and HIGHLY personal items.

And so, I present the first in an ongoing series...
Found Grocery List #1
Found at: Outpost Natural Foods, abandoned in the meat case (amid the chicken breasts)

Some questions this particular piece raises:
  1. What is Hot Cho? Does it go with waffles?
  2. Who is Teah?
  3. Why does mom need special bacon?
What do you think?