If things look a little greener around here this April, there's a
good reason. Our editorial staff is busy expanding the ideals of Earth
Day into a month-long celebration of energy conservation, alternative
transportation, recycling tips and about a million ways you can be a
better friend to the planet. Welcome to Green Month, Milwaukee.
Prior to moving to my current house, I liked the idea of composting, but didn’t actually do it. I was, quite honestly, too grossed out by the thought of rotting food to move forward with a plan.
Four years ago, I moved next door to my friend Stacy and her amazing backyard composter. It’s a simple structure -- invented and constructed by her stepdad -- that’s made out of cedar planks. Basically, it is a big wooden box that’s divided into two separate bins and has a hinged lid. We dump our fruit and vegetable trimmings (and coffee grounds) on one side, occasionally turn it, and then in the fall, transfer it to the other side where it sits all winter and turns into rich compost by spring.
Most importantly, the composter is far away from our patios, so we don’t have to smell it, and it’s next to the garden, which makes transferring the soil to the beds very easy. Seeing the rich soil every spring -- and then using it in the garden -- has sold me on composting for life.
As for dealing with the rotting food, I have a large Tupperware container in my back hallway, and have learned to turn my head and not breath when opening the container. Actually, it’s not so bad.
What to put in your compost bin:
Vegetables and fruits (In fact, Stacy told me that natural sugars are great for increasing the composting process, so rotting fruit or expired fruit juice is great for compost.)
Coffee grounds (you can toss in the coffee filters if they are unbleached)
Basically, anything plant-derived that’s not a fat
What not to put in your compost bin:Read more...
Fat (nothing with b…
It’s rare for me to stay out until bar time, even rarer that I go out for Mexican food at 2 a.m., but that’s exactly what happened last night. A few friends and I, after an evening of Glo Bowl at Bay View Bowl, went to Jalisco because Todd wanted horchata.
Someone tried to order guacamole, but the waitress said they were out of avocados. We didn’t think much of it, ordered our meals and went back to eating free chips and slurping the cinnamon rice milk. A few minutes later, the server returned to our table and said they had “found” an avocado, and although they could not make it into guacamole, I could order it sliced inside my bean burrito.
I wasn’t sure what to make of this found avocado. I tried to ask -- in the least snarky voice possible -- where exactly they had found it, but the waitress didn’t answer. I imagined it lodged behind a big cooler and a cook or dishwasher shoving his arm between the wall and appliance to nab the fruit. (I also imagined it perched atop a pile of raw chicken, but I quickly shooed that image from my brain.)
Indeed, I was a little leery of the suddenly materialized avocado, but I decided I was already eating at Jalisco at bar time, so I was already compromising my better judgment. Plus, the pitted fruit has a thick, protective skin, so it seemed relatively safe to eat.
Today, I’m thinking it wasn’t such a good idea.
Sure, lots of people are in bands and their songs get played on the radio. It’s not a big deal. It happens all the time. However, when I heard my band -- now defunct for five years -- on the radio, I almost flew off the back of my treadmill.
I’m not exactly sure how the song, called “Tell Me Everything,” ended up on 88Nine. Most likely, it’s because it was included on the first OnMilwaukee.com local music CD sampler, called "OMCD_1.0." However, we also cut a four-song EP that could be still floating around.
In any case, it was a trip to hear it, randomly and unexpectedly, on the radio. (And thanks to the DJ who played it.)
The band, called The Meddler and eventually just Meddler, was a project started by me and my husband Jamie. I wrote the lyrics and he wrote the music for about 20 songs. Later, we formed the band featuring Jamie as singer and guitarist, New Harmony Indiana’s Matt Krajewski on bass, Mike Koch (Luminol, Dorian Gray, Eric Blowtorch and the Innflammables) on drums and guitarist Mike Tschurwald.
Over the course of a couple of years, we played a bunch of gigs, but then people started having babies and the group fell apart. Happens.
Seasoned musicians might take this stuff with a grain of salt, but for me, hearing a song that I wrote on the radio was pretty awesome. Although saying that, I feel a little like Steve Martin’s character in “The Jerk,” who got excited to discover his name was in the phone book.
This afternoon, my sons and I dyed Easter eggs. I broke down and got a store-bought kit because I was sucked in by the idea of making sparkly eggs. I imagined pastel orbs twinkling with glitter, similar to the ones I made with my grandma a few decades ago.
I remember wearing one of her embroidered aprons, mixing vinegar and water in a little glass cup, and dropping the colorful pellets into the liquid. Both my grandma and I are somewhat artistic, so we created intricate designs with white crayons before dunking them in the dye. Once they were dry, we displayed them in eggcups as part of the Easter brunch centerpiece.
Dying eggs with my sons was quite different.
They had little interest in making designs on the eggs with the white crayon even though I tried to pitch it as a “magic crayon.” Kai made a few scribbles on one, but then proceeded with what he really wanted to do: dunk the egg in every color until it was a loamy brown. Levi had no interest in the eggs whatsoever; instead he dropped a quarter and a Transformer’s arm into the dyes. (I didn’t notice the little plastic arm until dumping the dye down the drain.)
In the end, their fingers and other miscellaneous body parts were stained with blue and red and purple streaks. Also, glitter was all over my kitchen but somehow very little made it onto the shells, and they destroyed the box that the dye kit came in which doubles as a display unit for the finished eggs. Unfortunately, but not surprisingly, I don't own a single egg cup.
I looked at our sad pile of poopy brown eggs and mentally compared them to the beautiful orbs Gram and I made long ago. Luckily, I’ve become pretty good at not getting super anal about aesthetics when the boys are involved. I really try to back burner my Type A stuff and revel in the Type B-ness that's often required in child rearing.
So, I placed the eggs in a pretty blue bowl from Guatemala and set them in the center of the kitchen table next to…Read more...