Skip to content

I just want to eat chocolate and watch TV

I did two half sick, half work at home days this week – Tuesday and Wednesday. I thought the fluffy cat would be happy that I was home, but she pretty much ignored me.

On Tuesday I made oatmeal bread. I pretty much stayed indoors and worked, but took it easy, except for a quick bike ride downtown to get my laptop. We had bread and vegetable barley soup for dinner. At about 9:00 I collapsed on the couch, with a quilt and a cat on top of me, and cruised through the channels to find something I could watch that I didn’t care if I fell asleep. Which turned out to be Beautiful Creatures, a movie from last year with a lot of good actors that seems to have been something of a disappointment. Perfect for sleeping to.

When I got off the couch at 11:00 to go to bed, my head was just stabbing. I decided to stay home again on Wednesday. Again, I worked at an easy pace, and my big outing was a little walk to Whole Foods to get cold sore ointment – because my lips were just erupting. But I could tell I was getting better. When I ate breakfast, I could taste again, and when I got the clean sheets out of the drier I could smell them.

Thursday I went back to work, and I think that’s why all I want to do is lie on the couch. But i just remembered that I need to download and sort the spread sheet if conference proposals – Aauugghh – need more chocolate for that for sure.

Print Friendly

Sleep – and weekends, and now it’s Monday again

Sometimes I think the worst part about getting old is not being able to sleep. My normal pattern for the last few years, since I’ve been over 55, has been waking up every two or three hours – on a really good night it’s four hours; once in a long while  I’ll sleep five hours straight. But even worse than that is the days when I wake up at 4:30 or 5:00 AM and I lie there worrying and I can’t go back to sleep.

Wednesday morning  last week was like that. I had some work stuff I was dreading. I’m trying to remember what I made for dinner – maybe we just ate leftovers. I know there was one night I ate a small dish of ice cream with fudge sauce and another night I had a Nutella and graham cracker sandwich – sneaky late night snacks, because dinner wasn’t enough.

Thursday I made pasta for dinner – zucchini and peppers and onions and tomato, and the last of the basil puree I took up to Door County and back, and I poured in some half & half and reduced it down. I added cooked penne and all the leftover grated cheese I could find in the fridge, like three tablespoons of cheddar and a little bag of parm and Swiss, mixed, and layered it with goat cheese and baked it.

On Friday after work I caught a bus out to Sundance and met Mark to see The Drop. By then the sore throat I woke up with last Tuesday was now a full blown cold. We had dinner at Pasqual’s sitting at the bar. I had a bacon, lettuce, tomato, & avocado quesadilla, and brought half of it home. John fought traffic to get here from Chicago, and didn’t arrive until almost 9:30.

Friday night traffic on the beltline

Friday night traffic on the beltline

On Saturday, Mark and I went to the Farmers’ market first thing. It’s getting to be the time of year when it’s hard to not to buy everything. I got:

Cheese curds from Wili Lehner; big red peppers and 3 poblanos from Sung Haven; apples from Ela; raspberries, potatoes, Roma tomatoes, purple onion, and baby dill from the stand that I like at the top of the square;  mixed lettuces and another purple onion, the torpedo  kind, from Jones Valley; pork chops from Pecatonica; a mixed bag of fruit – 2 kinds of plums, peaches, apples and apricots from Door County; more tomatoes from Matt Smith; Gotham bagels, and beef jerky from D&G.

Back home, took John to pick up his car and I biked over to Willy Street for the rest of the groceries, and to see the grand reopening after the remodel. I ate some free strawberry ice cream from Sassy Cow, and talked to a bunch of people and little kids.

Then John & Megan and I had our “lets move furniture to get Megan out of the basement” date. The first step was getting the white sled bed out of Megan’s room, and into John’s old room, that is now Rachael’s when she comes here every month. It was kind of a shitshow, as Al would say. We resisted taking the bed frame apart as long as we could, but we finally figured it out. We moved a lot of furniture and had things at all kinds of crazy angles, me and Megan mostly – John helped from the couch. I had a haircut at 3:45, and went to the pet place to look for a covered litter box like Megan & John’s cats have, for Katie kitty. They didn’t have any good ones – Megan got hers at Target – so I got Katie some food and came back, and good thing too.

Because the Alec Soth artist talk that I thought started at 7:30 was actually at 6:30, and you were supposed to be there at 6:00 to get a seat. This was the second time I’ve seen Alec Soth. He’s a nice polite Minnesotan and I’m sure that’s why he can go out and do what he does – people let him take their pictures and he’s able to make a living by taking photographs, and making books. In the words of Doug Fath, Austin’s dad, who’s preparator at the MMoCA, “Of course, we all wish we could be Alex Soth. But we can’t. But I’ve had a good life.” I say, Alec Soth’s awfully smart and nice and he works really hard, but he’s also really lucky.

We were home by 8:30ish, so it was my chance to finally make the browned-butter-Nutella-stuffed-sea-salt-sprinkled cookies I’d been reading about for years. Mark and I ate ours warm and gooey with vanilla ice cream, but I think I like them better when they’ve had a chance to cool off.

Salted, Nutella-Stuffed, Chocolate Chip Cookies

Salted, Nutella-Stuffed, Chocolate Chip Cookies

And I made a small, vegan, peach pie for Dorla. I was a little frustrated by how hard the all-vegan shortening crust was to roll, and I was making the pie in a bendy foil pan, and sort of dropped it when I was trying to get it onto the the pizza pan to go into the oven – but it all worked out, as we shall see.

In the morning, I got up and went out early to Target for the cat litter box, and then Sentry for heavy and bulky stuff like fizzy water and flour and sugar and toilet paper. Nothing like Target at 8:30 on a Sunday morning to make you feel like they sell the solution to all life’s problems, made out of plastic.

I sort of put the groceries away, and made a pear cake – Megan drove John over to get his car this time.

Then Mark and I biked to the Willy Street Fair, to see the parade and give Dorla her pie – which I smashed a little more trying to get it strapped to the bike. We watched the parade, and I told Dorla she’d have to get spoons to eat her pie – but she was actually able to cut four nice little slices for herself, me, Claire and Mark. Pie for breakfast. We walked the length of the fair, listened to two Yid Vicious tunes, and came home. Mark was getting too hungry to be out fooling around any longer, and I didn’t want to stop at a coffee place.

I wanted to go see Andy’s Paul Vanderbilt show opening – but I had my second date to clean out the basement while everyone else watched the Packers. I had to make sure there was at least a clear path around the furnaces so we can get the new ones installed next week. I didn’t, as Mark asked, achieve organizational perfection, but I did get the path cleared. I didn’t throw away nearly as much stuff as I should have, nor get the little sitting room area for Megan set up, that I want down there. But it’s better.

My nose was running like crazy the whole time, and I was hot and miserable. I got cleaned up and then I made bean and corn salad, and pork chops, and salad with raspberry vinaigrette for me and Rachael and John and Megan. Somewhere along in there Mark had to leave for Chicago for his work week. After dinner I made a hot toddy and watched Boardwalk Empire upstairs to keep Mark’s cat company. I was completely surprised to find everyone else gone to bed when I came back down. And the Packers won. So in the end a good Sunday.

Monday I went to work despite my cold, and it was a cold, grey, dreary day. I had lots of odds and ends to deal with and a student crying in my office. And I just felt kind of cruddy. Rach & Megan got their own dinners, which was good for me, because all I wanted was a bowl of oatmeal. And I made the rest of the cookies, and we all ate some. I’ve been needing a new series, since I finished the Wire, and Rach got me started on Last Tango In Halifax. I think it will do nicely. Better than nicely – I like it a lot. And now it’s actually TUESDAY – and my glasses are smeary and my bladder is full and it’s time for me to walk away from the computer and get into PJs, and collapse on the couch again if I ever expect to recover from this cold.

Print Friendly

Still behind, but trying to catch up


Sangria at Xoco - yummy - like the best koolaid you ever tasted

Sangria at Xoco – yummy – like the best koolaid you ever tasted

I spent the weekend, or at least, Saturday night and Sunday in Chicago at Mark’s pied à terre, a one-bedroom in a high rise in the South Loop, that’s an easy L ride to his job just off North Michigan. We took the train and arrived at about 3:00 in the afternoon on Saturday. John and Megan stopped by – they’d been at the Art Institute – to see the place and pick up the electric drill (the cordless Makita that was my dad’s).  I’d lugged down, so John could use it to hang mounting board in his room, to put his photos on.

After Megan and John left, Mark and I went to Xoco for dinner, then to see free opera in the Pritzker Pavillion at Millennium Park.  We got there at about 8:15; the show had started at 8:00, and it was obvious that people had been camped out since early evening with their chairs and blankets and picnics and wineglasses. We were leaning against one of the columns that holds up the network that holds the speakers. There were a couple of women, and a guy who chimed in from time to time, who were talking incessantly in a language I don’t understand – not French or Italian or German or even Hebrew, because I would’ve been able to pick out a few words – so it was super annoying.

Free Lyric Opera in the Pritzker Pavilion

Free Lyric Opera in the Pritzker Pavilion

On Sunday, we went for breakfast at Nookies on Wells, an old fave from when the History Museum was the Historical Society, and I worked there. John & Megan came to meet us, not sure what was up with Al. He said he missed his stop on the bus. We did a little shopping for the apartment – Mark got a metal cart from Crate & Barrel to put the TV on, and I used a Kiehl’s coupon to get skin lotion and eye cream and other stuff. Then we wandered down Michigan Avenue, stopping for iced coffee, and made it to a 4:00 PM showing of A Most Wanted Man, which left Madison too fast to catch. Bed Bath and Beyond didn’t have the 3-cup Bialeti espresso pot I wanted, but they did have the hot air popcorn popper that Mark wanted. We stopped at Whole Foods and I paid $13.41 for a carton of salads, to take back to the apartment for dinner and watch the season premiere of Board Walk Empire. Too many flash backs, I say. And Whole Foods in a gentrifying neighborhood in Chicago was insane at 7:30 on a Sunday night …

On Monday morning, Mark went off to work, and I did a combo of red line train and walking to catch the bus back to Madison. Even though I shoved my wallet way down, it bothers me that my Timbuk2 laptop backpack just has a velcro lid, and that my credit card wallet, inherited from my mom, is getting kind of loose. Seems unsafe in the big city. Just might have to buy new ones – a woman getting on the bus ahead of me had a really cool Timbuk2 back pack with buckle downs on the lid – it looked kind of custom, though.

I made it in to the office by 2:00, plugged in my laptop, did a little work, and made the first academic staff assembly meeting of the fall at 3:30. At home, I made taco casserole, which involved cutting corn off the cobs, and skinning and chopping tomatoes, roasting peppers, poblano and bell, some  for the casserole and some for freezing. I made veggie broth, too with the cobs and tomato skins and a bunch of celery that had been at the bottom of the bin for almost 3 weeks, and all the other odds & ends I could gather. I watched a little TV while the broth cooled, put it away, and went to bed, where the fluffy cat was happy to see me. Somehow waking up in Chicago and going to bed in Madison with a 3-hour bus ride and all that cooking wore me out. Oh yea, and I made a plum cake to take to a meeting this morning, basically Dorie’s Dimply Plum, suggested by Smitten, and I added a powdered sugar glaze – and totally forgot to take a picture of it.

And now here we are, just after 9:00 PM on Tuesday – there’s another day’s & dinner’s worth of dishes in the sink to clean up – burst cherry tomato tart, but not as good as the last one – a little doughy on the bottom – and the pan and carrier for the plum cake, and so on. And I have a sore throat and kind of just want to go flop down on the couch and not get up. OK dishes first, then flop.

Print Friendly

Vacation’s End

I’m going to have to do one of those catch up posts before I forget everything. This is brought on by trying to remember when we went to see The Fault in Our Stars – it was after Toni left July 10 but before August 1 – I think – tho it could’ve been after Bootcamp, so after August 9 – see just can’t remember. And, trying to look up past movie listings on the Internetz just doesn’t work that well.

So this week – we drove back from Door County on Monday – in the rain. We stopped at Seaquist and got a 10 pound bucket of cherries and assorted jams & pie fillings. Stopped at the Cookery for breakfast because the line at White Gull was too long. We got back to Madison at about 3:00-ish, and Mark got ready to head for the train to Chicago for his work week. I knew I was going to have to do some last minute updates to my courses, before they opened the Tuesday morning at 6:00 AM. The weather was still iffy. Megan decided to walk to Trader Schmoes for her groceries, and got soaked. I puttered around, repacking the half thawed cherries in quart buckets, sorting and recycling mail, unpacking … I think I worked on my courses first, waiting to take advantage of a dry spell to bike to Sentry and Whole Foods for groceries.

I settled down at about 8:00 with my laptop in front of TV, and sort of dinked away at stuff, ate the last of the Babcock Hall peach melba ice cream, and the almost the last hunk of blueberry ice cream sandwich, and watched The Trip on Netflix.

Tuesday was the first day of school. I had a phone meeting at 11:00, but nothing else on a time frame, just working on getting class presentations and websites ready. And then a REAP meeting about the Food for Thought fest, 5 or 6 friends coming by at 5:00 to talk about the Chef Showdown event. I put out vacation leftovers for snackage – ground up the salsa I’d made on Washington Island with half a not very spicy jalapeño  that was in the fridge and mixed in some tomato paste, the last fresh tomato that had been to Door County & back, and the jarred salsa we bought in Fish Creek, and put it out with corn chips that I had, and sweet potato chips that I bought at Whole Foods Monday. I also had a dab of zucchini butter, to go with a newly purchased baguette. It was hot, and I got out a bunch of fizzy waters and had lemon & lime wedges and Knudsen Pineapple Coconut juice, and lots of ice. Liz brought a box of assorted Bloom Bakeshop cupcakes, that were really good at first, got melty during the meeting, and were pretty awful the next day after being refrigerated. The butter cream frosting kind of congealed into a layer of solid butter, and the cake lost all its tenderness.

Box of assorted Bloom cupcakes

Box of assorted Bloom cupcakes

On Wednesday, seems like I had a lot of meetings during the work day. After, I biked to an art opening at a coffee place – textile art & handkerchiefs. I called my friend Susan, who’s retired from being a school nurse and working on a PhD in art history, and she met me there. Everyone else was either someone I’d known for forever, or someone who was a familiar face, since I’ve lived in Madison over 30 years. Megan and ate the leftover pasta pesto and pizza bread for dinner. I went up and re-watched the last episode of the Wire, on Apple TV at Mark’s apartment to keep fluff cat company.

Thursday started with sopping up water from the basement floor. Replacing my towel dams and using the wet vac, while poor waked-up Megan sat in bed and watched. The thunderstorms had started at 4:30 AM, and I went downstairs and closed all the windows except one of the ones over the kitchen sink – the one that I have to basically stand in the sink to close. When I got the kitchen remodeled in 2001, the windows over the sink were supposed to be casement, so I could just crank them open like a door, but that got left off in the final plans due to price … another thing to spend money on when I sell the supper club house.

I went back to bed until the National Weather Service said run for your life – I figured I better go check the basement at that point.

In addition to the thunderstorms, my street is a mudhole right now – the city is replacing the sewers, gutters, sidewalks and streets – paying Parisi Construction $1.8 million. The water was supposed to be shut off all day Thursday; the irony of too much water on the basement floor, and none in the taps. So, after I got rid of the water on the basement floor, I made a pot of coffee and filled up the Britta, and reminded Megan that there was a whole gallon of water up in Mark’s fridge. I spun dry my basement rag towel-dam towels in shifts, and dried them in the dryer without washing, figuring I’d need to use them again soon enough – and they came out remarkably soft and fluffy – I guess that’s rainwater the fresh that all the detergent companies try to imitate.

By the time I got home, even though it had rained more, the basement was dry, and the water was back. I dropped off my computer and went to get my CSA box. Megan went to watch the Packers with friends. I had class at 7:00 so I had an early pre-class dinner of cheese quesadillas and the last of salsa. Class went OK, and fluff cat only had to be alone for about 20 minutes between the time class ended and Mark got back.

Friday I had to be at work by 8:00;  student advising appointment at 10:00, and was also trying to help John get ready for his first presentation of his 2nd year of grad school. I got an heirloom tomato in my CSA box, and I had a delicious, drippy, tomato sandwich on whole wheat toast for lunch. Then I had the intro online class meeting for my other class at 1:00, and then I intended to come straight home, but with this and that I wasn’t back until 3:30 or so, and of course I still had work stuff to do. Took Megan to the bus to Chicago at 5:00, then I came back home and made Spanish rice with ground beef for supper, instead of the taco pie I was planning, since it used up more stuff that needed to be used – veggie broth & hamburger meat, primarily. I got corn and poblanos in my most recent CSA, so I’ll make the taco pie Monday. And I hope I can turn my eggplant (one regular, one Asian, and the regular one went all the way to Washington Island & back) into a casserole or caponata or something before it goes bad.

After eating the Spanish rice, we went to see Trampled by Turtles at Overture – it was fun to see people drinking beer in the big concert hall, although I’m sure Pleasant wouldn’t like it – Pleasant Rowland, the founder of Pleasant Company/American Girl’s husband, Jerry Frautschi, was the major donor to build the Overture Center in Madison, and Pleasant & Jerry were responsible for the lovely light blond stone and woodwork. The concessions did not sell red wine for years after the place opened for fear of stains. Even now, you can get your (light-colored) beer in a bottle or can, or pay $3 extra for a sippy cup.

At the break, they cranked up the smoke machine and played heavy metal. The heavy metal stayed unexplained, but when Trampled by Turtles started it was obvious that their light show required a certain amount of smoke in the air. I had fun talking to a young arborist who works for the city, sitting next to me – we started talking because his wife went to say hi to a librarian we know, who was sitting a few rows in front of us. Turns out they know her husband who works for DNR. Ah, Madison.

Print Friendly

Washington Island, 2


Great Hall at Viking Boathouse


Chair back


Chair back


Chair back


Rug and more carved furntiture


Carved table


lightning fist - part of the frame of Thorvardson's diploma


Books craved on the frame




First we went barefood


Then primitive shoes


Finally modern shoes


Million volts transformer


Window in the lighthouse


Stereoscope in the lighthouse - the picture is from New Hampshire, though, not WI


Lens of the lighthouse light


Modern lighthouse - solar powered






Looking out from the lighthouse


The beach


Cows in the field across from the library


Apples from a tree I biked past



Sunday was by no means sunny, but at least it wasn’t raining. Instead of breakfast out, we decided to just eat a little something at the cabin and try to catch the 10:00 ferry to Rock Island. We had two bananas that needed to be eaten, anyways. I had mine with peanut butter and Mark had his with a glass of milk.

We packed a couple of wedges of the peach cake, and our water bottles, and headed out. Rock Island is the former playground of some crazy Icelandic guy, Chester H. Thordarson, who invented the “world’s first million volt transformer”, and built all kinds of beautiful stone buildings (dolomite cobble – it looks like the rocks from the beach mortar into walls) on the Island. His history is pretty typical of Scandinavian immigrants – came to the US in the 1870s and settled in Milwaukee, ended up on a farm in North Dakota, which he left when he was 18, and moved to Chicago to try to get more schooling.

We started at the Great Viking Hall Boathouse, which has lots of carved wooden furniture made by another Icelandic immigrant in Chicago, Halldor Einarsson. I think the chair backs are Norse tales, and I think this book explains them.

Then we walked up to the Pottawatomie Lighthouse. As we went up, a ranger in an ATV with a couple and a lot of stuff was coming down – Mark was pretty sure it was lighthouse docents coming down, and when we got to the lighthouse, he was proved right. The couple who lead the tour had been on the ferry with us. Seems like a kind of a cool way to get to sleep in a lighthouse – I guess you might have to join some kind of lighthouse preservation society and pay dues.

We took the stairs down to the beach, and watched the waves roll in for a bit. The water is so clear – I wanted to capture the moment that the water magnifies the rocks on the bottom of the lake as the wave curls – not sure I really got it though.

We walked back down to the Boathouse and had time to sit on a bench for a few minutes and eat our cake before catching the ferry back. It never really got sunny, and it was sort of misting, so we drove to the Red Cup for coffee. Either the book store lady is getting smarter about her wifi – maybe she took Mark’s advice to get her tech guy to set it up so her connection takes precedence – or else there were just too many people trying to get on – but we couldn’t catch a connection at all. So we went and hung out in front of the library, to check in with kids, and Mark wanted Arsenal scores. I forgot to check if Bucky won, and I don’t know what’s happening with the Packers, either.

We still had time to go out for a little loop on our bikes, making today about the best for exercise since we’ve been here – about an hour and a half hiking around on Rock Island and about a 45 minute bike ride. I picked apples, that I think I will fry for dessert for dinner – have to counteract all that exercise somehow. I’ve also been munching on the Triscuits.

We made our leftover Sailors Pub fish into fish tacos, with the fresh and jarred salsas and some cheese. Heads up Wisconsinites – best use of your leftover fish fry I’ve ever tasted. The crunchy perch, that was extra crunchy since I re-heated it in the oven, soft flour tortillas, salsa with fresh tomatoes and cilantro, a little cheese – and Mark had the bright idea of putting a little of the leftover tarter sauce on the tortillas, too –  was a dynamite combination!

Tomorrow we’re going to try to get the 8:00 AM ferry back to the mainland – and of course, since the bikes are all locked up on the car, the sun’s out for real, in time to set.

We made the 8:00AM ferry

We made the 8:00AM ferry on Monday – and it rained the whole drive home – not much fun to drive in, but still satisfying

Print Friendly

Washington Island vacation, 1

Our first night we had sammiches for supper – bread and Nueske’s smoked turkey from the fancy grocery store in Fish Creek, tomatoes & cucumbers from my CSA box, brought from home – then we watched Gosford Park on VHS tape.

Thursday morning we weren’t sure of the weather, so we went out seeking coffee and wifi. We stopped at the library to find out its hours, because I tried calling the night before, only to find that they don’t have an answering machine – but we’ve since made such good use of the place, my irritation over that lameness of theirs has passed. There were lots of cars when we arrived, around 9:20, and sure enough, they were open 9 – 1:00. So we went in, got some work done, and checked the weather. I even used my SCLS card to get a library card, and we checked out a stack of DVDs to augment the cabin video library. We went and got coffee at Red Cup, and bread at the new bread place attached. We took everything home and since it had turned into a sunny day, we set out on bikes. We hoped to visit the farmers market; somehow I thought the hours were noon to five but in fact it was 10:00 – 2:00. There was nothing on sale except for a lady from Illinois with earrings, and at first we thought we’d missed out. The earring lady assured us that there’s just nothing ready yet, vegetable-wise. There were still two feet of snow on the ground here in May.

So we biked to School House Beach, the smooth rock beach, and then the grocery store, to get what we couldn’t get at the market, and treated ourselves to Albatross chili cheese fries and a shake.

chili cheese fries at Albatross

chili cheese fries at Albatross

We took the scenic route home, past the Washington Hotel – closed but accepted offer  – and had an all bread dinner – pizza on the flat bread we got from the bread place, and zucchini butter on the ciabatta.

Zucchini butter

Zucchini butter

We watched a P.D. James/BBC Inspector Dalgleish, one of our checked out DVDs from the library. It was pretty grim, so to counteract it, we watched episode 1, season 3 of Downton Abbey, also from the library – the one where Mary and Matthew get married.

Friday morning it was pouring. I came down and made coffee and we just stayed in bed reading and drinking coffee and listening to the rain until almost 10:00. Then we headed out to Red Cup, and had just discovered that they do have wifi this year (well sort of, more on that in a minute) when the power went out. So we just kind of hung out and read and waited for the electricity to come back, killing time till the library opened at 1:00.

We got sandwiches at the Danish Mill, and then headed to the library. We worked until about 3:30 – our last chance because they’re closed now until after Labor Day. Then we did a little car touristing – visited the TWO lavender farms on the Island. We’re betting that the one with the really nice rent-able ballroom that can seat 200 will survive longer.

My sammich at Danish Mill

My sammich at Danish Mill

Mark's - umbrella on the side

Mark’s – umbrella on the side

On Terese’s advice – via the log book – we decided to have dinner at Sailor’s Pub. We got there a little after 7:00 and had to wait a bit for a table, sitting at the bar. We watched one of the waitresses trying to make a mojito – offering lots of suggestions. She had to do it over, but the 2nd time the customer liked it just fine. We both got the special – perch and crab cake, with baked potatoes, and we decided to pay the extra for salads. Mark got a Caesar, and I got the house. They had a sweet wasabi sauce as well as tarter for the fish. It was all really good – and we brought home a to-go box of fish for a fish sandwich later. (We made fish tacos – see the next post). We were home in time for 2 episodes of Downtown Abbey.

There was enough cell connection to send this shot to Rach.

There was enough cell connection to send this shot to Rach.

On Saturday morning it was raining again. We hung around the house, and I made a peach and cherry jam cake, with the two Door County peaches I bought in Madison and brought back here, and the Seaquist cherry jam we bought here at the little grocery on the Island.

Peach & cherry jam cake

Peach & cherry jam cake

We thought about biking, but decided to drive to Red Cup, and a good thing too – it got rainier and rainier. We put gas in the car, and then got coffee, and again just hung out. We decided to stop into the book store next door. That’s when Mark discovered that the wifi we were picking up at Red Cup is actually from the book store. A little bit just seeps over to the coffee place. The book store lady was having trouble ringing up a sale, and Mark gave her some advice on how to make her connection overide the freeloaders over at Red Cup

We did a little more car touristing – drove down a bunch of roads that dead ended at the lake, looked at fancy houses, and figured out where Gibson’s is, and the Sunset Resort, that serves breakfast.

The plan for tonight is pasta for dinner and movie night – we are eschewing Fish Boil. I made some salsa with canned jalapeños, fresh tomatoes, onions, and cilantro, that came in kind of a funny packaged bunch at the little grocery store – washed and made into a bundle of sprigs in a meat tray with saran over all.

Pasta pesto with garlic bread & salad

Pasta pesto with garlic bread & salad

Bought and home made salsa

Bought and home made salsa

Sunday, our last full day, is supposed to be sunny and nice. I’m hoping to bike out for breakfast and then take the ferry to Rock Island.

Print Friendly

Lost long weekend

After a summer bookended by week long events that I was co-chairing (the teaching academy summer institute and the new distance students’ bootcamp), with 36 studnets in internships in between, I now am trying to get three online courses ready by next Tuesday, September 2. Which means that, since last Wednesday, the last time I wrote, I’ve been in a lost weekend of nothing much but work.

On Thursday, I had a morning training session on the student & class scheduling software at UW, ISIS – and I’m pretty sure now it shares a name with a terrorist organization for a reason. I knew I was getting cilantro & chiles & tomatoes in my CSA box, so I cooked a big pot of beans on Wednesday night, and Rach & Mark & I had refried beans and corn salsa and tacos for dinner. We ate a remarkable amount of beans.

On Friday instead of working at home, I went in to the office. My goal was to have 2 of my three courses ready to be logged into by the end of the day, but I didn’t quite make it. The problem is that even though I’ve taught all the courses before, I haven’t taught online searching or web design since 2012. The only head start is that I had to get a lot of the online searching course ready for the bootcamp at the beginning of August, and my 3rd course is the same internship one I had with 36 students in the summer, so all I had to do was change the dates. And only 6 students in that one this fall.

On Friday evening we went to see Jason Yi at MMoCA. Yi spent three weeks building an installation with plywood and duct tape (mostly) that will be at the museum for until November. It was as good as artist talks ever are – the artist earnestly talking about what h/she was thinking when they made the work, the audience trying to ask “smart” questions and show off their one knowledge. There were drinks and snacks on the roof, and we hung put with our neighbors, an artist married to a doctor. Ann’s a pediatrician and we walk when we can – her dad died this summer and she’s been in Ohio taking care of the house and getting her mom settled and all that – so I haven’t seen her much. So it was nice to catch up. On Sunday morning when we were breakfasting with Mark’s son, who’s in business school and interested in a career in finance or public policy, said. “People get paid for that? Maybe I should rethink my career choice”. We tried to explain how hard it is to talk about your work to get those grants, how that’s what John’s spending 3 years in an MFA program to learn how to do, and seemed like Ethan was reassured.

Jason Yi at MMoCA

Jason Yi at MMoCA

On Saturday, I wanted to go to the smaller westside market instead of downtown one, so Mark and I biked over there. I got lettuce, apples, parmesan, eggs – not a whole lot needed because of getting 3 CSA boxes in a row. Came home and ate a little breakfast and worked until it was time to go see Guardians of the Galaxy. The weather cooperated – it was hot and muggy and stormy, good for staying inside and working.Rach and I didn’t even walk on Saturday morning. The movie was fun, if a little silly, and I have bad ’70s pop stuck in my head now, because one of the characters had a beloved mix tape that his mom gave him on her deathbed.

Sunday we had a big scrambler, with potatoes and corn and broccoli and peppers and cheese and tomato. Which meant I finally got the dozen ears corn that had been in the basement fridge husked and cut off the cobs and some went onto the scrambler, some made another batch of corn salsa, since we snarfed the first batch so fast; first batch was more tomato than corn; second more corn. And I now have one cottage cheese carton – about 3 cups – of corn in the freezer, and a tub of corn cob broth, with bay leaf & pepper corn. I made blueberry coffee cake, too, using my cherry coffee cake recipe. It’s good blueberry, I used the blueberry compote from the ice cream sandwiches, but the cherry is better, especially with Door County cherry pie filling – which I will have to get more of when we head off to Door County, Wednesday.

During my bout of brunch time cooking, I made a key lime pie to take to Debbie’s pie party. No pics, but it looked a lot like the one below that I made 3 years ago; graham cracker crust, cream cheese, key lime juice and sweetened condensed milk in the filling, all natural cool whip on top. This crust was especially good because I used cimmy grahams. The rest of the day Sunday, I worked, then put Mark on the bus to Chicago, and went to the pie party.

Key Lime Pie

And, jeez – started this Tuesday morning, finishing up Wednesday. I have all three syllabi and the course websites basically ready. I should still send emails to the students – but I guess I can do that from a coffee bar or the library on Washington Island. I am feeling pressed but shouldn’t be – I am finally on V A C A T I O N. And it’s time to get packed.

Print Friendly


So my master plan of last weekend, cooking all the vegetables I could, seems to have worked.

Mark and Rach and I had tomato gratin and eggs and fruit on Sunday morning; I did make the Smitten Kitchen one – but I used leftover garlic toast and much less Parmesan, instead of cubing and frying fresh bread. We were still so full from breakfast that all us girls ate for dinner was nibbles of the ice cream sammiches on Sunday after Magic in the Moonlight. Which we agreed was pretty to watch, and Colin Firth was himself, but the movie just wasn’t that good. the characters were just too slight. You weren’t at all convinced that it was the best thing for this smart, 53-year-old man to fall in love with this 25-year old wisp. Tim Robey in the Telegraph nails it, “The film’s hardly a chore to watch, and it looks like a million of 1928’s dollars. It just has its heart in the wrong place.” Rach and I ate leftover squash casserole, and leftover corn, and leftover roasted green beans for lunch on Monday .

Monday night I was in the Twins to give a talk, so I took leftover pasta for dinner. After pie at Norske Nook, and putting the finishing touches on my slides. I had sour cream raison meringue, because if I made that kind of pie myself, I’d have to eat it all myself – no one else in the family would help. But I should’ve had peach melba.

Tuesday I gave the talk and drove back. There was a sound like running water in my hotel room, almost like white noise, but just enough NOT like white noise to make it hard to fall back asleep after I woke up every 2-3 hours like I do. So I skipped the end of the conference, and left at 2:30, so I’d be able to do the driving earlier in the day, but even so I had to stop and eat a Taco John’s Santa Fe chicken burrito, halfway, at Orange Moose – so it would keep me awake with its disgustingness. Which all meant I didn’t eat any leftovers on Tuesday.

Wednesday was all leftovers all the time. Corn cut off the cob and mixed with the last spoonful of creamy Italian, and the last three cheery tomatoes, and that crusty part of the last slice of tomato corn pie was lunch, then the last of the pasta, and collards with bacon for dinner.

Tomorrow we’ll have new food – mostly. I hear I’m getting cilantro and tomatoes in my CSA box, and I have a nice purple onion from a previous box, and some hot chile’s from Rebekah’s box in the fridge. So I’ll make salsa, and we’ll have tacos with shredded grilled chicken, and corn, and I’m cooking a big pot of beans right now.

I think I’ll have to get into PJs and have a little slice of the ice cream sammiches, and watch the Wire. I am on season five, and I think I am on to the episode where Omar gets it.

What flavor of metadata is best for your collection? from Debra Shapiro there’s video on some slides & flyins, so download the ppt if you want to see that
Print Friendly


I’m getting three CSA boxes in a row – I get my normal every other from Tipi, August 7th & 21st, and last Thursday I got Rebekah’s from Vermont Valley. So, I’ve been trying to cook it all, and here’s what’s in the fridge:

  • one last slice of corn & tomato pie
  • a small container of collards with bacon – it’s the turquoise one, upper left
  • a bigger dish of penne with roasted tomato sauce, and turkey sausage fried with fennel, onion, & red bell pepper
  • A few hunks of garlic toast – it and the penne are from Friday dinner when the neighbors came over
  • roasted green beans with shallots, grilled chicken pulled off the bones, 4 ears of grilled corn, and yellow squash casserole, all from Saturday dinner
  • behind the penne, there’s a big bunch of broccolli, and lurking in the bins are two small cantaloups, a bag of salad (from Friday), carrots, celery, shallots, onion – actually the vegetable bins make me feel like I am succeeding in cooking all my vegetable bounty …
  • In the basement there’re 11 ears of UN-cooked corn (I plan to cut off the cobs and freeze)
  • In the fruit bowl there’re about 2 pounds of tomatoes (I’m debating if I should make this or or maybe this or another kind of tomato pie for brunch tomorrow, with the tomatoes sort of scalloped and topped with biscuit strips, from this book). And those three expensive peaches.
  • In the freezer, there’s a half pan of blueberry ice cream sandwiches (I cooked the blueberry compote with lemon zest, but didn’t add extra lemon juice & zest to the ice cream), and in the fridge (behind the collards and in front of the peanut butter jar of granola) there’s a little container of leftover blueberry compote to eat with yogurt

Don’t think I’m going to have cook until next weekend, though – even if it means making Mark eat leftovers again next Thursday.


Print Friendly

Couch potato night

Mark’s in Chicago so this is one of my single girl nights.

I had a big salad for dinner and ate while I watched the Wire – that is, I re-watched selections of the season four finale. The selections where I fell asleep last night.


I roasted vegetables for the crazy roasted vegetable sauce. I got given a basil plant last week, so I used it up in the sauce. The neighbors from down the street are coming for dinner Friday and I’m thinking I’ll make pasta with the tomato sauce & meatballs or sausage – they have little kids. I’ll make a big salad. And maybe ice cream sandwiches for dessert.

I got some of the dishes washed and now I’m watching the Wire season 5 first episode. With a cat holding me down.


Wednesday was even more of a single girl night – you can’t see it in the picture, but one of the layers of my Tuesday salad was roasted green beans and corn. On Wednesday, there was a small Tupperware of the green beans and corn leftover, that I ate with a spoon right out of the container. Then I had ice cream.

Print Friendly