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So long livejournal....

Aug. 18th, 2007 | 08:02 pm

After much consideration, I have decided to move over to Wordpress.com. My new blog will be (drumroll please) www.phranklyphred.wordpress.com.

I look forward to seeing you over there, where the posts will continue to be, well, similar.  I may occassionally xpost, we'll see.

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to market, to market...

Aug. 10th, 2007 | 10:08 pm

I missed the Wednesday Westside Farmer's Market at the DOT parking lot, and I knew that I'd miss all the Saturday markets (working 6:30-3 tomorrow, oh yeah!). So, I decided to check out a new one that's relatively close, on Thursday. Fitchburg (the suburban location of my 'bux) is just down the road, and their farmer's market is new. It is located under a permanent tent structure that actually looks pretty cool, in the Fitchburg Agora. This suburb has no downtown, no center, it's a couple square miles of subdivisions and strip malls. What's nice about Fitchburg is that it has natural beauty, and the strip malls that have recently been built aren't ugly.

The Agora, in fact, is gorgeous. Inside is a spa, salon, coffeeshop, and I'm not sure what else (maybe it's partway empty, since it is brand new). The architecture is stunning and fits in its natural surroundings. Even though it's in a business park.  The market itself was small but good in terms of variety and price. I was able to spend $5 on a good amount of veggies, (fresh cucumbers!) even getting some free tomatoes with "bad spots" from the "seconds" box at one vendor. I picked up a Challah and chatted with a teenager that I used to babysit. He works at temple, I will be teaching there this fall (and subbed last winter), so we bonded a bit.

Last night, Thursday, I made Shakshuka, inspired by this entry at The Jew and the Carrot. Mine turned out splendidly. I actually put potatoes in the pot, because I discovered that they didn't look like they were going to last as long as predicted (my kitchen is just too hot and I forgot to take them out of their plastic bag). I also roasted slices of sweet potatoes and red potatoes with fresh oregano and chives for a future meal and poured a mixture of rice vinegar, olve oil, and sesame oil over a bag of pre-sliced coleslaw "mix". Earlier, I had rolled a whole bunch of green grapes in sugar and placed them in the freezer.

Today, I took myself to the cheap theater to see A Mighty Heart. While there, I snacked on frozen grapes while watching Jolie depict the most heartbreaking moments of Marian Pearl's life. I thought that the movie was good, sad, and scary. I'm too tired to review it properly. Karachi looked so chaotic. I can't even imagine living someplace like that. (in chaos).

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my relationship with kleenex

Aug. 8th, 2007 | 12:06 pm

I leaned over the open washing machine to transfer my clothes to the dryer and groaned silently. I had done it again! White clumps of wet tissue were distributed chaotically among my clean, wet clothes, clinging to them. And, it wasn't a little, it was  a lot. I remembered throwing in a pair of pants, and realized that I had forgotten to pull out the wad of clean kleenex that lived in one pocket.  I spent the next five or so minutes shaking out my clothes and collecting bits of kleenex from inside the washer, the floor, the dryer, my shirt (that I was wearing) before turning on the dryer. 

I  admit that I'm a kleenex hoarder. I have allergies, and I have had allergies since I was a baby. Wherever I am, there will be kleenex. I leave kleenex (used and new) in my living space (gross, I know), in my pockets, and it gets into the wash, too. I've tried to reform. I try to remember to check my pockets (ALL my pockets) before doing a load of laundry, but sometimes I forget.

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Old friends are like coming home again

Aug. 6th, 2007 | 10:15 pm

On Saturday, I drove to the Milwaukee County Zoo to spend the day with my friends that I called family while in Chicago. Some of them I hadn't seen since February. We realized the night before that we hadn't been apart that long in 5 years. Wow. It was a stunning revelation. These were all Smith friends, of course, they'd have to be for that  to be true.

It used to be, that I would see old friends and spend a while adjusting to being with them/feeling shy/acting weird. But, I just slipped back in. It was like I was home. The 4th spoke in the wheel.  I might feel more comfortable because I've matured and moved beyond SOME of my shyness. But, I actually think that credit should be given to my job.  Being forced to speak to/make conversation with whoever buys coffee from the 'bux makes me more open/comfortable with the social deal.  Of course, there's also the fact that I'm socially starved and desperately miss having my friends around instead of just on the phone/emails. Just ask kissmeimjewish.  I miss those intellectual/nerdy folks, and am starved for that level of conversation. (she just asks the air  "am I related to her?" when I get too far into the clouds).

The zoo itself was great. I had visited as a child, but unlike most things I experienced, I had no memory (or it's changed so much that it was unrecognizable). There were some cool predator/prey exhibit designs that I enjoyed (the lion could watch the Impala, but there were 2 moats and a fence between them). The koala's were priceless, and I really liked, of course, the apes/primates. And the seals/sea lions. Oh, and the penguins :) And there were so many goats! The flowers were amazing. The zoo has a great gardening staff. One question though, what's with the magical amount of $2? Everything extra was 2 or 2.50. 

We ended our day at a cute brick oven pizzeria in downtown Wauwatosa, which was fun. I drove home in a rainstorm, which kept my mind on the road.

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The World is strange and I've just gotta share

Jul. 30th, 2007 | 12:02 pm

Just got home from Starbucks, and there's a man walking around outside squeezing a squeaky toy and calling "Jackie, Jackie!". It was so strange, because I thought I was hearing a squeaky toy, but I thought "no, it can't be, who would be outside just squeezing a squeaky toy?" But, it was true, my ears did not fail me. I hope that he finds Jackie.

Today at the 'bux, somebody ordered a traveler of Passion Iced Tea through the drivethru. I stumbled on the headset and did a couple of um, um-s before asking her to come in to take care of the order. Then, she didn't come in for about 10 minutes! It was quite strange.

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Last Weekend's Camping Trip

Jul. 27th, 2007 | 10:11 pm

I'm slow to get these types of posts up. But here it is.

First of all, Clear Lake is much closer to Minoqua and Woodruff than to Boulder Junction. That must be where the ranger's station is. We were delighted by how convenient the campground was to Minoqua, because it is full of childhood memories. My family (on my mom's side) has been vacationing in Minoqua for generations, and we spent many summers in the area (Minoqua, St. Germain, Eagle River, Lake Tomahawk, etc.)

Our trip began on Friday morning after filling our cooler with ice. It was a pleasant day, perfect for driving. Our first stop took us off the beaten path. We had passed a sign indicating that there was a farm-stand in 1000 feet, but at the end of the exit, no signs were to be seen. So, we turned right. And kept driving. We eventually saw a sign indicating a historical site and some mounds, so we followed those. We ended up at Whistler Mound Group and Enclosure. We had a pleasant, piney walk in the woods before moving on.

After driving for a long while more, we arrivied at our weekend accommodations and set up the tent, bought firewood, and figured out where the bathrooms were (it was a state forest, so there were lots of pit toilets and one "modern" facility). It was all quite nice,  I appreciated the small campground. Our water, though, had to be hand pumped, which was somewhat of an ordeal.

When we were all settled, we set off to find the beach. We found the beach area to be quite small, so we proceeded to continue exploring the lake. Clear Lake is gorgeous. There is lots of sandy shoreline and quiet coves.  We tramped through the woods and near the water for quite awhile. We found wonderful peaceful areas and wished we had worn our swimsuits.  We also wished for kayaks (which we never did rent).  They would have been perfect on this lake.  We spent our evening cooking at the campfire and just hanging out.

Saturday found us tramping around the other side of the lake (thank goodness for state forests, where you know that you can go anywhere on a lake without trespassing).  We found more beautiful beaches and peaceful coves and were able to walk to the other section of the lake for a look-see (it was impossible on the other side). After a lovely hike, we returned to camp for lunch and then donned our swimsuits for an afternoon of play. The lake was pleasant but dropped off quickly, which made it quite chilly. The boats and skiers/tubers made a bit of a wake, which made it somewhat difficult to swim. But, it was still pleasant to float on our raft things.  We spent a lovely 3 hours or so out in the sun before heading back to the site. Kayaks had been too expensive to rent, another time, maybe.

After showers and debate, we drove out of the park. As were drove back to 51, we decided to go visit our old camp (drive past, not drive in). And, so, we did.  It was a trip down memory lane. We didn't realize that we had done many vacation activities in year's past so close to camp (go-karts and such).  The sign was nice and newer and we noticed that there were staff cabins in upper field, which we didn't know about as campers.  After a double-back to look again, we drove into Minoqua to revisit more memories.

At dusk, we cooked an unsuccessful dinner (generic veggie baked beans just don't taste the same), played several rounds of cards, and read before making the requisite s'mores (again, generic marshmallows also don't live up to brand names).

We left mid-morning Sunday, after stopping in Minoqua for a container of Bosacki's hot fudge sauce for my mom's birthday and another stroll through town. 

I'll try to litter this post with pics of the beautiful clear lake in the near future.

I highly recommend the campground's in the State Forest, they were wonderful and cheap!

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Jul. 25th, 2007 | 10:33 pm

When I used to drive down the Kennedy towards downtown Chicago, I would get shivers as the skyline came into view. It never got old. I would always think something along the lines of  "I love this city of mine, this my skyline".  It was strange, because I really did have a love/hate relationship with Chicago. The Wisconsin/small-city girl felt trapped and dirty and longed for green space, easy access to hiking, and clean air. The big-city adventurer loved getting on the El and going to a new neighborhood; walking to the grocery store, library, post-office, Target, movie theater, friend's house; and knowing that if I so desired, there was always people watching to do, festivals to visit, and events to enjoy. 

A year ago today, I finished packing up what was left in my apartment in Logan Square and drove home in time to cook my mom dinner for her birthday. I was done with the city and not planning on returning as a resident, at least for a while. And, this is still true. I had more adventures in the fire, including 3 months in Maine.

Yesterday, basically one year later, I drove into downtown Madison, squarely facing the capitol. I didn't feel thrill in my heart or a feeling of possession "this is my city, blah blah." It was more like, "oh, there's the capitol, better turn left."  Viewing the skyline from John Nolen Drive is beautiful, but it also doesn't resonate the same way.  I feel that same sort of thrill of possession and awe though, when I drive through the Wisconsin countryside, watching the combine harvest the golden wheat, peaking at the health of the corn stalks, and exclaiming over the beauty of the rolling hills, woods, barns, fields, and lakes.

This is my dichotomy: Wisconsin girl who loves nature, big city adventurer who loves to experience the new and exciting. I don't have plans for my future yet, they're still in the works. But, I hope that they can be married somehow, maybe not in Wisconsin. But, somewhere where I can have the new excitement and the thrill of the natural, rural world.

P.S. We did celebrate my  mom's birthday today, Wisconsin style.  The four of us spent the day at Green Lake, picnicking, and cruising around on our boat (and tubing) before eating a quick dinner of salads at Culver's (hey! it was late!) before coming home to homemade blueberry pie (with Michigan blueberries) and vanilla  Dairy Queen soft-serve.

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Escaping to the North Woods

Jul. 19th, 2007 | 01:15 pm

This weekend, kissmeimjewishand I will be escaping to Clear Lake. Clear Lake is in the Northern Highland-American Legion State Forest, near Boulder Junction, Wisconsin. Clear Lake is one of the popular Camp Interlaken  JCC's favorite overnight sites. When I was in K'far (between freshman and sophomore year of high school) we camped on the lake at a remote site. I remember that it was beautiful and the hiking and swimming were great. We got to sleep on the beach, but the mosquitos and flies were really bad. We, of course, at traditional Interlaken fare of stir fry (I swear we ate that at every overnight) and other less memorable foods. It was the summer of confusion, when everything was changing, ahhh adolescence. And, I was moving to Madison after camp.

Anyway, I'm looking forward to hiking, campfires, swimming, and hopefully some kayaking. I've been wanting to do that all summer, but it just hasn't happened.

I know I haven't posted about last weekend, when I spent my entire Sunday at festivals: Art Fair on the Square and Fete de Marquette (which want to call Fete de La Marquette). But, this week has been busy and exhausting on multiple levels. Let's just say that the Fete was host to a lot of hippies and interesting folks dancing to New Orleans style music. And the Hot 8 Brass Band was beyond fabulous. But, the sun was hot and there was no shade to be found.

photos under the cut thanks to kissmeimjewish:

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Gardening update

Jul. 19th, 2007 | 01:12 pm

Because I know that everyone has been waiting with bated breath (I'm being sarcastic), I'm pleased to announce that we have had 2 ripe cherry tomatoes and one more that's nearly there. And we have tons of baby tomatoes on their way. It's so exciting to grow your own food. If I had more room I think that I would have grown peppers and peas and pole beans...

And, last Saturday, I cooked roasted sweet potato fries with our own fresh chives and oregano, how awesome is that!

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Musing about reading

Jul. 16th, 2007 | 09:53 pm

I was just thinking about writing my personal statement for mfa programs. Yes, that's right, I've decided (if you didn't know) to apply to nonfiction MFA programs for fall 2008. I wish I could have made a decision earlier and gone this fall, because I'm not loving my life right now. But, that's beside the point.

I was considering what authors/writers influence me and my favorite books. My all-time favorite book is Roommates by Max Apple. It's about Max's relationship with his grandpa, Rocky, who lives to be over 100 (107, I think). Autobiography is one of my favorite genres. But, I think I feel/felt most connected to this book because of Rocky. I have a strong relationship with my grandpa, and when I first read this book it wasn't so challenging. I loved him and he loved me and was proud of me. Now, I don't meet his expectations in so many ways, and he worries. So, we fight, which makes me sad. I miss the old relationship. Rocky was a difficult man, too, and made Max's life tough. They were roommates from age 4 through grad school, off and on. Rocky ended up following Max until his death, always living not far away, which touched me. I think that I wished that I lived back in that time (not so long ago), when families lived close together and grandparents babysat the grandkids.

One of my other favorites is The World According to Garp. I didn't have the same instantaneous connection to "Garp" that I felt with Roommates. I remember when I first read this book. I was at camp, between freshman and sophomore year of high school (is that when we read it?). My best camp friend gave me the book, she loved it. I read it. And I think that I thought it was good, but not amazing or anything. I picked it up again in college, and loved it. I fell in love with all of John Irving's books. His style suits me. He's funny and real. I find his words to be accessible. But, "Garp" is the touchstone. In college, I understood Irving. I didn't when I was in high school. In fact, since I had a tendency to read books ridiculously early, I don't know how much I actually understood from the books I read. (I read Gone with the Wind in elementary school). I know that I enjoyed the Wrinkle in Time trilogy much more when I returned to them in high school. (I did not like them the first time around).

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