Sunday, November 20, 2011

Wisconsin Love Affair #1: The Sky

My cousin Luai is a stand up comedian. I like to think he's almost as funny as me. Almost. Aw, who am I kidding? He's hilarious! Though you may remember him from such stories as this, you'll probably want to check out some of his standup here. I'm gonna go out on a limb and say that you'll find this hilarious if you're Arab. Or from Chicago. Or if you're a person with a sense of humor at all. Look, just watch it everybody.

Anyhow, about a week ago, I posted something on facebook about how I haven't blogged a lot lately. While I have been writing, it's mostly not share-y stuff. You know. Fall and winter. Feelings. Wah wah. But, I really am missing blogging, and thankfully, my hilarious cousin proposed that he and I make a deal to stay accountable to each other. He's been wanting to do more stand up lately, so we're checking in with each other on getting our respective things done. I mentioned to him how I wanted to start a series about my newfound love affair with Wisconsin. Yes, I have really fallen in love over the last few years, but more recently, there have been very specific things that stand out to me and present concrete, actual reasons why. It's nice to feel like you love something, but when you have a logical and rational mind that can sometimes override your pure emotion, it's real nice to know why you love something. You know?

And so, I give you my first Wisconsin love: the sky. Or, pictures of the sky, at least.

The sunrise over Monroe.

East Washington St. in Madison. View of the Capitol.

Two shots from the Beloit area.

A small hot air balloon on the east side of Madison, at the beginning of a drive to Tomah.

Somewhere on the drive from Chicago. Near Janesville, I think.

North of Sun Prairie, 6:57 pm.

South of Columbus. 7:09 pm on the same drive as the picture above

New Glarus. Around 7:30 pm.


Nearing Evansville.

Milwaukee, leaving some hotel and following Helen in her car.

South Milwaukee, same night.

View of Lake Monona in Madison.

Between Monroe and Juda.

Driving to Milwaukee on a foggy morning.

Somewhere in Madison. Monona Bay, maybe.

Is this in Madison? Can you tell?

Whoops, this is from Glenview, IL. I love Glenview too, you know.

Back to Wisconsin, which this love affair is about.

Windsor, or somewhere near DeForest.

Heading west on the beltline. On the way to Quaker Steak and Lube to eat wings.

On the shore of the East Side Club, overlooking the Madison skyline and the sunset.

Lately I find myself wondering: has the sky always look like this? Have I missed it all these years, or has it just been especially beautiful over the last six or seven months? Am I just paying closer attention? Is something speaking to me? But mostly, I try to snap the pictures and then just appreciate. Whatever and why-ever it is, it just is. And I hope it continues to be.

Needless to say, I've been driving a lot. Which sort of conflicts with one of my potential next entries - namely the one about how in love with Madison (people and politics, specifically) I've become. I love driving and, living in Madison, that is sort of a no-no. Well, I'm very sorry Madison, but you live in an extremely beautiful state that I need to see more of. Especially that lovely Wisconsin sky.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Amazing Breakfast Sandwich

There's this Simpsons episode in which they go to a swap meet and Bart picks up a "pencil holder," to which Homer says...oh never mind, I found the video. Here:

This line has been in my head for a couple of weeks now, only replace "seen" with "written" and "bong" with "blog." Yep. I haven't written a blog in years. Or weeks, really. But it feels like years.

And frankly, it may be awhile still before I write an actual, substantial blog that's not just pictures of what I ate this morning. I think that right now, I'm busier than I've been since I was in grad school. Yes, busy with weddings and traveling, but that still means busy, guys. Okay? And there just hasn't been time for blogs and writing. There will be soon, I hope, but not at the moment.

So for now, enjoy these pictures of what I ate this morning. I think I made one of my best breakfast sandwiches ever. And you just have to hear about it!

First off, I got these eggs from one of the families I teach. They have chickens in their backyard that lay 2-3 eggs a day, apparently, so I got these! By the way, does anybody want chickens? They're looking for a new home for them. Let me know.

I had some leftover pesto from some dinner I made, and some goat cheese, so I spread some on each side of an english muffin.

Then I put a layer of this really thinly-cut rosemary ham from Trader Joe's on top. Ham. All of a sudden I love ham. What's happening?

Next I fried one of those eggs, over-medium. Over-medium is awesome, because you can smoosh your sandwich down and all the yolk breaks on top of the rest of the sandwich. That'll happen later.

I put the egg on top of the ham. I like the cheese to be the top layer in most sandwiches.

Now - the smooshing! Absolutely delicious.

Some day we'll talk about something that isn't food. Some day...not today.

Monday, September 19, 2011


It's pronounced like "fuh," so I probably should have called this entry "What the Pho?!" But hey, there are already 743,000 results when you google "what the pho," so none of that for me. I prefer my original title: Pho. SO LAZY.

It's a vietnamese soup with a bunch of topping you add in right before eating. It's one of the simplest, yet most flavorful and delicious things I've ever eaten. And perfect for when you're under the weather in any way; headache, body aches, cold, fever, broken spirit - whatever you like. Fortunately, I only had the first two of those (my spirit is wonderfully grand right now, thank you), so I got some pho from Ha Long Bay down the street - my favorite restaurant in Madison. I was knocked the hell out after my first couple of weeks of teaching hilarious, but really really gross children, as well as a weekend with zero down time and tons of busyness. So I got this soup as a l'il treat. The ingredients are so pretty, and I like documenting anything that involves a process, so here you go:

Container of chicken and broth, rice noodles and scallions in the other container, and the bag of bean sprouts, basil, jalapeños, and lime.
The noodles and onions and some parsley.
You dump the noodles and onions into the broth and let the noodles soften.
I am a wiener - I only used one jalapeño and I only let it sit in the broth for about five minutes, and even then, it was almost too spicy for me.
Put in a few basil leaves, a good squeeze of lime, that one temporary jalapeño, and the bean sprouts. Delicious.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

The Elusive Student Handbook

When I was in second grade, I memorized all the state capitals of the United States. I think, around the same time, my sister was studying them as well, and I helped her memorize them with the use of this book:

Student Handbook! How comprehensive! In the geography section, there was a list of states, organized by region, and their capitals. I quizzed Sara on each state, relentlessly repeating "Richmond, Virginia," because she just couldn't remember it. My Dad would peep in and out of the family room, listening to us. I remember him cracking up when he heard the capital of Florida: Tallahassee. "This is how we say 'Come over here and kiss my ass' in Arabic!" he exclaimed. Well, you'd actually pronounce it "Ta'al boos teezi." Same difference. I remember sitting with the heavy, brown book in my lap and giggling with my father and sister. Oh, America. You have no idea how hilarious you are in Arabic.

Anyhow, that Student Handbook was the greatest. It had so much information in it, and it really appealed to me as a kid. I loved it. So you can imagine my surprise and excitement then, when, last weekend, I saw that a friend of mine had the very same book on his bookshelf! I was thrilled, and sat on the floor for a good half hour, poring over the pages and laughing at the pictures in the dictionary which was in the last two-thirds of the book. Here are some of my favorites:

Oh, a muff AND a muffler! There's a difference!

Round-shouldered boy. Yep.

I just like the sound of all these E-words.

I'm both enraptured and enthralled by that gentleman's enigmatic smile. Also? English horn.

I don't think that house looks all that eerie. This pictorial definition is deceiving!

I like the potential correlation between drumsticks and drippings. Delicious.

Look at the interplay between dragon and downcast eyes! Totally on purpose.

Embryo of a rabbit. That is all.

Look at this guy! Look at this damn exhibitionist! He sure expanded my watchband, if you know what I mean...

This is also a history lesson, because you can see the tackiness that was considered "fancy" back in the 1970s.

Writing with flourishes! I feel like this group of pictures is pretty fruity.

Look at that judgey woman! It's just a furled sail, lady. And a fulcrum. Don't hate.

I understand this boy completely. I, too, gape in wonder at the majesty of the Student Handbook. The gargoyle is sort of gaping in wonder as well, don't you think?

I just love this one. No explanation necessary.

Handlebar mustache AND handcuffs in the same group? YOW-OW-OW!!!

Hey, it's Ole Lady McJudgey again!

What a slob.

Pictures aside, some of the definitions are hilarious as well. Check out what "Hollywood" means.

This one is just a little depressing.
I'm so glad I got to relive the pictures of the Student Handbook as an adult! I truly believe that my sarcasm and cynicism play well into my judgement of pictures. What a productive day!