Friday, August 31, 2007


I was talking to Jake last night. We returned to the familiar conversational theme of me complaining that I don't have a job, I don't do anything worthwhile, and even if I had a job, it probably wouldn't allow me to do anything all that fantastic. After I throw myself a little pity party, I tend to joke around about what I would do with myself, given money, power, etc. I throw out a bunch of BS ideas. Sometimes the ideas have to do with saving the world. Sometimes they are just get-rich quick schemes.

Anyway, last night I told Jake that I was going to solve the "climate crisis". I told him all we should do is pump all the excess carbon into tanks and shoot it into outer space. Of course, Jake rightfully laughed at my inefficient, unworkable BS. He may have laughed more at this idea than the horrible idea I had for a restaurant selling BBQ tofu on a stick. He said, "Do you even realize how much fuel gets burned up shooting something into space?" Then he laughed even more as I stupidly suggested the development of a solar powered rocket. Then Jake said, "Why not just use a space elevator?" And I was like, "What's that??" He rolled his eyes like he couldn't believe I've never heard of a space elevator. Then he explained to me the idea of hooking up an elevator onto an object in geosynchronous orbit as a way of reducing the energy required to get into outer space. People have actually thought of this! Look! Jake said, "Okay, maybe we have to get a subscription to Popular Science or something so you know what I'm talking about..." Is it weird that I've never heard of a space elevator? Oh, I love my husband. Yes, this is what makes marrying him worthwhile... I'm not kidding. The space elevator made my day.

Thursday, August 30, 2007

One in a Million

Lloyd Christmas: What are the chances of a guy like you and a girl like me...ending up together?
Mary Swanson: Not good.
Lloyd Christmas: You mean not good like one out of a hundred?
Mary Swanson: I'd say more like one in a million.
[a long sad pause]
Lloyd Christmas: So you're telling me there's a chance? Yeah! I read ya.

~From Dumb and Dumber

I typically write down every job to which I apply.

I just counted and I've applied to 99 jobs since leaving my old job.


This is such BS. I'm so ready to give up.

Gah...I'm just grasping onto the hope that more places will be hiring in the fall and that there will be less competition from recent grads, etc.

99 is a lot, right? I would hope that my chances of getting a job are better than one in a hundred...but who knows, right? Maybe it's more like one in a million...

Tuesday, August 28, 2007


Jake and I flew to Chicago this weekend for Dan's wedding. Here are some quick highlights:

We rediscovered how much CTA sucks. We tried to take the train to downtown, only to be forced onto a bus because they were doing trackwork. It took forever. At least in DC, they've worked out a way to single-track trains so passengers can still use them when maintenance is required...

We took a sightseeing boat tour of downtown. Here's a picture taken on the boat:

We walked around downtown and went to Millennium Park. Here's the big jellybean sculpture thing:

Here's a picture of a little boy throwing a ball underneath the sculpture thing (which wound up hitting me in the head):

Can you find Jake and me?

We met Jake's family and ate at Cheesecake Factory on Saturday night. Jake's parents were in town for an art fair and they also brought bicycles down to ride around town. Jake's brother and one of his friends drove down separately. Jake and I planned to get a ride back to our hotel from his parents, but then they told us that they had bikes in their car, so they initially suggested that we catch a ride with Seth. However, then we had dinner and Seth had obviously been drinking and intended to stick around downtown late into the evening going to the bars with his friend. We suggested that Jake's parents put their bikes into the car Seth drove down and drop us back at our hotel. After dinner, we had a little adventure looking for the car, because Seth and his friend weren't sure where they had parked... It all worked out, though, and Jake's parents got us back to our hotel safe and sound.

Dan's wedding started on Sunday afternoon. Mitch and Danielle picked us up and took us to the banquet hall. We had to change our driving route several times because there were a lot of roads closed due to flooding.

I don't think I'll ever experience another wedding quite like Dan's again in my life. Mitch and Danielle both said that it was one of the most religious weddings they've attended. During the ceremony, the men and the women had to sit on separate sides of the room. I'm glad Danielle was there, or I would have had to sit by myself. Here's a picture of Dan and Anya at the chuppah:

During the reception part, the men and women also had to dance separately. They put a screen up between the men's part of the dance floor and the women's part. I think the amount of alcohol available was part of the Russian influence on the wedding. Each table had a full bottle of vodka, whiskey, white wine, red wine, and...I think I'm missing one bottle...and another bottle of alcohol. We ate Chinese food prepared by a kosher catering company. The evening's entertainment was interesting. Some people put on a skit, which included someone wearing a mask of Dan's face and Anya's brother dressed in drag. Lots of the men did all sorts of crazy dances trying to get Dan to laugh. The band's repertoire included a version of Men At Work's "Down Under" in Hebrew. Dan juggled fire. Yup, definitely an interesting evening...

Here's one last picture of Dan and Anya. This one includes Dan's parents and sister and I believe someone's grandma...

The two of them are moving to Israel in less than two weeks! Jake and I only got to meet Anya very briefly at the wedding. She asked Jake if he had any insider roommate tips of things to watch out for living with Dan. The two of them have some big changes coming up. It will be craziness, I'm sure...

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Hair Cut

The next time I get my hair cut, I want to donate my ponytail to Locks of Love. I was really thinking about doing it today. I thought I had enough to cut off. I got a trim a bit before the wedding while I was in Madison and the woman who cut my hair then told me that if I took off 10 inches, my hair would be just at the base of my hairline in the back. I thought I could deal with that. So, today I went into Hair Cuttery (a hair salon chain something like Cost Cutters or Fantastic Sams)and asked about Locks of Love. The women there looked horrified that I wanted to cut my hair that much. One of them said to me, "If you cut it off now, your hair will look like that," and pointed at a man sitting there looking at a magazine. His hair was pretty short...above his ears at least. much time will it take for me to grow my hair to a decent length?

Another thing I wonder about is whether or not I should go into a place like the Hair Cuttery to have this done. The only time I've had my hair cut while I was in Virginia was at this little barber shop owned by a Korean family. Jake likes to go there because it's cheap and they cut his hair there the way he likes it. However, when I went in and tried to explain to Kim, the woman there, that I'd like to add some bangs, she didn't understand and told me her English wasn't that good (even though she's lived in the US for over 30 years...). I wound up just having her trim my hair because I was afraid she'd chop it all off when I didn't want her to. She was a nice lady and all(she probably talked to me more than any other hairdresser I've had in my life...really, she told me about coming to America, where her daughter works, introduced me to her bird, etc.), but I don't think I'd go back there to do a style change. Something easy like a trim again would be fine. When I went into the Hair Cuttery, the only people working there were a couple of Asian ladies and they both definitely had accents. Is it wrong of me to worry a bit about their English language skills when I'm looking for a drastic style change? I'm awful at explaining things and it probably won't help if I go in and talk to people that have difficulty with English. I'm afraid at this point that if I go in for a cheap haircut, I will have to deal with people with limited English skills. It just seems to be the case around here. Will I be fine if I just provide them with pictures of what I want? Or should I look into some pricey salon and pay 3 or 4 times as much just to have someone who can decipher my explanation of what I want my head to look like? Or, should I just wait until the next time I'm in Wisconsin or something to just avoid this whole ordeal?

Ants/ Go Away/Come back/Another Day

Jake and I have had an ant problem in our kitchen this whole summer. I keep seeing all these little brown ants all over our countertops. Jake even has a song about the ants. The title of this post contains all the lyrics. It's a really annoying song that he sings in this high-pitched voice. Now, every time I think about the ants, I think about the song, too.

So anyway, I didn't want to buy traps, so I've tried all sorts of crazy stuff to get them to leave. I tried stuffing mint leaves into the cracks I where thought they might be coming in, wiping down with this mint concoction I made, pastes made of baking soda and turmeric, etc., etc. I was hopeful when we left for the wedding for a couple weeks, there wouldn't be anything to draw them into the kitchen and they'd disappear. No such luck. So, last week I started wiping down the counters with a mix of white vinegar and water and (I think...) finally they're gone. I haven't seen any in a while. Yay for white vinegar!

Saturday, August 18, 2007

We might finally get recycling!

My landlord stopped Jake and me on the street this morning and told us that he's meeting with some other property owners on our block as well as with some people from the city government on Thursday about setting something up. Yay! Finally. I wrote an email to the city about this a while back and they were basically like, "Yeah, you should have recycling...we passed an ordinance last summer about that..." Then nothing happened. Then, Jake forwarded along the emails between me and the city to our landlord to see if he'd do more about it. Let's see if they finally get something going this week. *Crossing fingers*

Does it ever annoy anyone else...

that there are news websites, etc. where you can't post comments in response to the articles? The internet should be about the exchange of ideas! NBC had an article on the the price of milk this week I really wanted to comment on, but there was no forum available.

Also, somewhat related..I'm addicted to craigslist's forums nowadays. It's crazy to me how many responses I can get when I post questions on there. I put something up about Cory's scholarship situation in both the legal and the education sections and I got lots of replies. There's one guy on there that is just basically a harasser. His handle is "crazyed" if anyone else sees him on CL. I clicked to see other stuff he wrote on there, and basically he gets on and tells women that they're fat and going to end up alone and stuff like that...anyway, he told me that if my brother sued over a scholarship it would be frivolous. I asked him "Why is it frivolous?"...big mistake, because I should have seen it coming that he wasn't going to say anything helpful in response. Anyway, I flagged what he said to me afterwards and got it deleted. Here's what he wrote that I made go away:

bitch its frivolous "crazyed" 2007-08-17 10:34:52

because people like YOU think something is owed to you because you got mad.

you always look for some way to get paid. i bet its assholes like you that complains to the managers because the waiter didnt ask if you enjoyed your meals.

and fyi slut if your BROTHER is so smart he would have gotten other scholarships. if he cant get grants or loans to pay for college then he should go to devry like you

Wow, this guy is king of ad hominem. I get a kick out of it, in a way.'s frivolous because you're an asshole and a slut...

Oh, "crazyed" are a curious man. I feel bad for you, in a way. What insecurities drive all these attacks on people? You must live a sad, sad life to feel motivated to come on and cyber-bully people.

Most people at least attempted to be helpful, though.

I also wrote about being in pain from slicing and seeding jalapeños. I've noticed that it bothers my skin afterwards lately. After the last couple of times I've handled them, I've had a horrible burning sensation on my hands. One time I also touched my face and my eyes and nose were burning, too. I googled it and most sites suggest using latex gloves or something, but I was hoping to get a suggestion as to something I could do that didn't generate more trash. People gave me lots of ideas...scooping the seeds with a teaspoon, washing up with rubbing alcohol afterwards, seeding the pepper under tap water, etc. Yay for people and their ideas! Oh, and I also got called a "gringa" and a "wimp"...not helpful.

Can we restrict the internet to logical, helpful people? ;)

Sunday, August 12, 2007

Vegan Week

One of the items on my 50 things to do before my second wedding anniversary list is to eat vegan for a week. I decided that this week would be the week I'd do it. I have time to plan meals since I'm not working, so I figured this would give me something to do. Also, because I have a lot of produce from the CSA, it should be much easier to do right now than other times in the year.

My final non-vegan meal was Sunday brunch at the spectacular Southside 815. Southside is a restaurant that is only a couple of blocks from our apartment. I love that place. I've never felt disappointed after a visit there. It serves Southern-style food in the restaurant part, offers a good happy hour during the week in the bar part, and is only a short walk away when Jake and I are seeking a bar to watch Badger basketball or football on tv. I really need to ask where they get their meat from. Ever since I've been trying to eat ethically, I've stayed away from meat there. I'm sad about this because they have really great mini pulled pork sandwiches and yummy, yummy mini plates of nachoes with pulled pork on top during happy hour at unbeatable prices. Anyway, my last non-vegan meal before vegan week was a plate full of french toast (stuffed with cream cheese,raspberry jam, and pecans...yum!), a side of home fries, and a couple of cups of coffee.

I decided to keep a record of the things that I ate over the week, as well as include a few amateur attempts at vegan food porn:

Sunday dinner
Fire Roasted Quinoa and Black Bean dish (borrowed from the blog Yeah, that Vegan Shit)

(I had some quinoa up in my cupboard that I'd been waiting to use up since I made this thing with zucchini and peanut butter and quinoa a couple of months ago. I substituted fresh corn cut off the cob for the frozen stuff. )

Half of one of those "tigger melons" for dessert

Munich Dark Beer made by Capital Brewery in the evening while watching "West Wing" with Jake
(We stockpiled as much Wisconsin beer as we could cram into the car on the drive back from the wedding...I didn't find out until later in the week that beer isn't always vegan. Apparently it's sometimes "finished" with things that include traces of fish bladder or egg albumen or crazy stuff like that...)

Monday Breakfast
Kashi Autumn Wheat Cereal with soy milk, coffee

Monday Lunch

Salt & Pepper Kettle Potato Chips

Grilled Marinated Tofu Sandwich- I used sunflower seed bread (which I'm not sure is vegan...but I didn't care enough to bother to's good fluffy bread from a vendor at the farmers' market), tomatoes, and green leaf lettuce. I grilled some pressed tofu on this grill pan my mom gave me for the bridal shower. It was cool because it actually left grill marks on it. I marinated the tofu in Sweet and Tangy Polynesian sauce (which had honey in it...oops).

Look at it...this is before I put the other toppings on it. Doesn't it almost look like chicken or something?

Cup of tomato juice


Monday dinner
Veggie Fajitas on whole wheat tortillas with guacamole (made by Jake! Good job, Jake!)

Chips, salsa, and guac

Bottle of Spotted Cow

Tuesday Breakfast
Smoothie made with strawberries, a peach, some soy milk, and ice


Some handfuls of Zoe's Honey Almond granola out of the box(yup, more honey...and this time it was on purpose...)
Tuesday Lunch
Chips and Salsa

Sandwich (sunflower seed bread, red pepper hummus, cucumber, onion, lettuce, yellow tomatoes, jalapenos)

Tomato juice

"Donut" peach (I bought two of these at the grocery store...they are a locally grown variety of peach that is weird shape.)

Tuesday Dinner
Chickpea Curry (I got the recipe from a vegetarian cookbook Maria gave me a long time ago...) and brown rice

cup of soy milk

Wednesday Breakfast
Kashi Autumn Wheat cereal with soy milk, coffee

Wednesday Lunch
Leftovers from the Fire Roasted Quinoa and Black Bean dish

Cup of soy milk


Wednesday Dinner
I got creative and made up a dish. It was kind of loosely based on ratatouille, but doesn't have any eggplant. I don't know what to call it. It had pattypan squash, green beans, tomatoes, onions, peppers, and summer squash in it. I served it on top of plain couscous. I'll have to try to write the recipe down later.

After dinner, Jake and I drank blackberry wine (I bought this in Harpers's a West Virginia wine).

Thursday Breakfast
Envirokids Frosted Flakes and soy milk, coffee

Thursday Lunch
Chips and Salsa

Slices of cucumber with raspberry vinaigrette dressing

Leftover veggie fajitas

Salad (green leaf lettuce, tomatoes, cucumber, raspberry vinaigrette)


Thursday Dinner
We went out Thursday night with PTO people for happy hour. I drank 2 pints of Grolsch (which I found out is actually vegan...). Jake wanted to order nachos and share them with me, so he asked for them without the beef, cheese, or sour cream. The waiter told him that the beef came mixed with the beans that were supposed to be on it. So, Jake asked for the beef mixture on the side so he could eat it. They wound up putting everything on the side...a little dish of guac, a little dish of jalapeños, and a little dish of "salsa" (which was plain chopped can that be "salsa"). It was weird. Then, I convinced Jake to walk across the street to eat at the buffet at Whole Foods afterwards. I was buzzing from the beer and excited about all my options (WF helpfully puts labels up that list all the ingredients on everything in the buffet. I could see it being related to the fact that John Mackey is a vegan...). So...I loaded down quite a hefty plate...Peruvian corn, naan flatbread, Chinese vegetables with tofu, curried garbanzo beans, and "Balti" vegetables. I was very full afterwards.

Friday Breakfast
Tofu Scramble with jalapeños, tomatoes, peppers, onions, and cumin

Toast with raspberry jam

I really wanted to eat a good hearty breakfast before leaving for Atlantic City because I wasn't sure what I'd find for vegan options at the restaurants there. I really overspiced the tofu scramble in the morning, but I wound up eating most of what I served myself. I felt like my eyes and nose were going to completely burn off. Jake threw about half of his breakfast away...

Friday Bus Ride Snack
Diet Dr. Pepper

Bag of Fritos

Vodka/Cranberry Juice

Friday Lunch
We ate at the "Sultan's Buffet" in Donald Trump's Taj Mahal casino. I loaded down my plate with stuff off the salad bar. Kevin looked at my plate and said, "What, did you get the fruit plate?" I got a good amount of veggies, mandarin oranges, beets, a tomato salad, some marinated mushrooms, a roll, and some tomato basil soup (It very probably had cream or something in it, but there were no labels and I didn't feel like asking. I had two bowls full. It was delicious.).

Friday Dinner
Udon noodles with vegetables at this cafe in a shopping center in AC

"Energy" vitamin water

French fries from a vendor on the boardwalk (Actually, this vendor still had them labeled as "Freedom Fries"...)

Saturday Breakfast
Envirokidz frosted flakes with soy milk, coffee

Saturday Lunch

Chips and salsa

Leftovers (some chickpea curry and some of the random veggie dish with the squash in it)

Saturday Dinner
Avocado and Veggie sushi, Veggie spring rolls, and mango tea at Bumblefish

Bar of Divine dark chocolate (which may contain traces of milk...bah...)

Sunday Breakfast

Cinnamon Puffins cereal with soy milk


Yay!!! I'm done!! Weeeeee!! I made it!!

Why did I decide to go vegan? Well, firstly, I think it had to do with just basically being more aware of the food I'm putting in my body. I think I consume more fatty dairy than is really necessary. Also, I do think the dairy industry inflates how much their products are really necessary for a healthy lifestyle. So, I think I also wanted to go vegan as a statement against the Standard American Diet as well as corporate marketing of certain foods. I wanted to prove that I could eat healthily and heartily as a vegan (I feel I ate fairly healthily, considering I ate a good variety got lots of produce in my diet. I do wonder if it was a bit soy-heavy, though...and of course, I probably took in too much alcohol.). I think I ate well, for the most part, and enjoyed most of what I ate. (I think I need to keep in mind what it was like eating vegan at a big, crazy buffet like the one in Atlantic definitely is a good idea to make sure the majority of your plate is filled with low-cal, highly filling items such as vegetables...)Finally, I ate vegan because I can understand the logic of eating vegan as an ethical standpoint. I feel that vegans are at least consistent and it makes more sense to me than dieting. I want to go on record that I did not do this as a "diet". I did not want to lose weight (and I didn't! I maintained my same weight...ha!). I do not believe in "going on a diet". I think diets mess up people's metabolisms and probably actually contribute to the reason why people are overweight/obese. I think it's all about having a lifestyle of healthy eating rather than a short term "quick fix".

On the other hand, I have no intention and no willpower to ever go permanently vegan. First of all, I enjoy dairy and eggs far too much. When I was growing up, I avoided most cheese because of an incident when I was 3 or 4 years old wherein I ate too many slices of processed American cheese and threw up. (Sidenote: I learned recently that when processed cheese was first being produced in the US, natural cheesemakers pushed the USDA to label it as "embalmed" cheese. Ha! Yeah, I think I could agree with that one...). It wasn't until I was in high school that I started to actually try cheese that wasn't mozzarella on pizza. I found that cheese is quite varied and most is delicious. (Oh, I love sharp cheddar...and Gouda...and feta...gurgle. I could do without that bleu cheese stuff, though...)Really, cheesemaking is probably quite the art. Why would I want to deprive myself of cheese again in my life? Not to mention ice cream...oh ice cream... Secondly, I really do want to support small-scale dairy farmers. I have members of my extended family in the dairy business and I know that they have struggled to make ends meet. Jake and I try to buy dairy for at home that is small-scale, organic, and rBGH-free for the most part (I know going out or ordering food we're not able to have that...but, no one's perfect).

Anyway, I'm rambling and ranting on and on...

So... In conclusion, I'm going to Chipotle for lunch today. Oh, I'm so ready for some meaty, sour creamy burrito goodness. Woo!

But...vegan week was an interesting learning experience. I recommend it.

Thursday, August 09, 2007


Does anyone know of people who are members of Toastmasters? I'm sort of thinking about looking into it as a way to improve my horrible oral communication skills. I'm afraid I'd end up checking it out and it'd just be a bunch of 60 year olds and me, though. I'd want to do it if I thought there were at least a few other young people, but I don't know what type of people Toastmasters attracts...

Tuesday, August 07, 2007


Jake just told me about this website that calculates how walkable a neighborhood is based on proximity to schools and workplaces, pedestrian-friendly layout, well-connected streets, etc. I looked at the address of the old Madison apartment on Mifflin and it rated as a 98 out of 100! Wow! My old place in Eau Claire rated as a 42...I remember griping a lot when I moved there how I felt disconnected from everything. Our place right now is a 72. I think walking most places is doable from here. It makes me happy to live in a place that is walkable. I definitely want that wherever we end up settling down.

Monday, August 06, 2007

Tubing in West Virginia

We went white water tubing this weekend near Harpers Ferry. Good times. I fell off my tube in the rapids and had to swim to some rocks and pull myself out of the water. I was able to climb some rocks and go back upstream so as to experience actually sitting on the tube while on the rapids.

Friday, August 03, 2007

Food Is Interesting

Finding out what is in our CSA share every week is an adventure. This week, we got a big white squash, which I have no idea what to do with yet. Does anyone have suggestions?

We also got something called "tigger melons", I believe. At least, that's what this woman called them when I went to pick up my share this week. Jake and I ate one of them for dessert last night.

Tomato season is in full swing. I've done so much with tomatoes lately! I made two batches of pico de gallo last week. I served some of it to guests we had over on Saturday night. I've also made fried green tomatoes, used tomatoes in salads, and made homemade tomato sauce to put on pasta. I learned that if you dunk a tomato in boiling water for a few seconds, then cool it in ice water, you can easily remove the peel. It's interesting. I was thinking that I want to try making sauce and freezing it, but I've actually been able to use all the tomatoes fresh lately, just through meal planning. Maybe if I get some more in the upcoming weeks.

We've also had a lot of cucumbers. One week I made a big cucumber and onion salad, but I've also been using them on sandwiches and also just as a snack with either hummus or salad dressing.
How do people get to be cookbook writers? I think it'd be interesting to do. Any recipe I'd write would probably be a slight rip-off of other recipes, though.
Well, now I want to tool around and look for something to do with that clue on what will work with that thing...

Thursday, August 02, 2007

Well, this is annoying.

I'm trying to apply for a job with the US Department of Education, but it's giving me crap because my "name and ssn do not match" what they have on file for me previously. Crap. I wonder if I wait until I get my new ssn card in the mail if I'll be able to fix this somehow. I don't want to screw around with re-changing my name back to Manthei in the USAjobs database, because it is letting me apply to other jobs with my new name. Bah...well, the job doesn't close until August 14, so I think I'll just wait and try again and if it doesn't fix itself, maybe I'll call someone for tech support or something...

Wednesday, August 01, 2007


How in the hell does a bridge collapse out of nowhere?

I just saw the news report on what's happening in Minneapolis. Holy fuck... I hope everyone I know in the area is okay.

I can't see what's happening. Jake and I don't get the cable news...I'm so irritated that we can currently see America's Top Model and some stupid dance show but we can't see the news. Blah...