Monday, February 25, 2008

Three Bag Week

For the last six months, save for fewer weeks than I can count on one hand, Ronnie and I have generated only one kitchen-size garbage bag worth of trash each week. Everything else gets recycled.

This week, I believe we may be using our third bag. It's possible that it's only the second, but I don't think so. And I'm not sure how it happened. We didn't all of the sudden use twice as much soymilk (and therefore have more cartons to throw away). Actually, those do take up a lot of space. Evidently, there was just a lot of "stuff" to be gotten rid of.

And we recycle a lot. There's some confusion over which plastics and/or bottles can go in the bin so we probably don't recycle everything we can.

On Tuesday mornings when the garbage gets taken, I always notice that our garbage can has one bag in it and our downstairs neighbors have nearly filled theirs to overflowing. They have a baby, but it can't all be diapers. If we could switch our big garbage can with our little recycling bin, we'd be in good shape.

We were at Costco and bought a box of 200 new kitchen garbage bags. That should last us 4 years. Bonus, they are not environmentally safe enough so they won't biodegrade while we wait to use them.

Friday, February 22, 2008

Andrea's theory of relativity

Einstein may have understood the physics of time and space, but I don't think he ever mentioned the relative temperature phenomenon.

Today Milwaukee temperatures were in the low 20s. It felt downright balmy. People were walking around with untied scarves, open coats and only the elderly were still wearing hats. we still have a good layer of snow and ice, and yet street shoes are back - winter boots are back in the basement where they belong. And tomorrow we're supposed to see mid-20s. No doubt we'll see people headed to the beach.

20 degrees is not warm by a long shot. But after weeks of single-digit highs and below-zero wind chils, it may as well be summer. Conversely, when it's 90 degrees in the summer, a dip down to 60 sends people inside for hot soup faster than you can say split pea.

I have no supporting equations or scientific research to show for Andrea's Theory of Relative Temperature, but I'm sure it's true.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Weather or Not...

I had to be at a birthday party in Chicago this morning. The news called for another foot of snow overnight, so I figured to be on the safe side, I should go the night before and at least be that much closer.

Last night saw no snow and no rain. And it was relatively warm (you know it's mid-winter when 40 degrees feels warm).

This morning saw no snow and just a little rain and temperatures in the mid to upper 40s. Needless to say, I could have driven down this morning (but then I would have missed the plans I'd then made for last night in Chicago, but that's a different story). The problem with warm rain is that the snow melts and uncovers an icy underbelly. Walking anywhere is difficult unless it's a well-traveled path, which then usually means you're in the middle of the road, which is not a good place to be if, in fact it is well-traveled.

Getting into the birthday party (and then back out) was a challenge. I did not, however, embarrass myself or amuse my hosts by falling down. Actually, I'm not sure my hosts would have been amused, but their children most definitely would have been.

Tonight, the temperatures are finally dropping and rumor has it we'll get only 3-4 inches of snow. At this point in the winter, that's practically nothing. Still annoying, but not enough to get crazy about anymore....

Monday, February 11, 2008


Finally, at 2pm today, I had time to run out and get some lunch. This is a little bit of a treat because usually "running out for lunch" means sauntering into the kitchen and remembering where I put the leftovers from dinner the night before. And there's a burrito place around the corner from work that I used to like, so I figure I'll go there.

I grab my coat and ID (so I can get back in the building) and figure that even though I don't have cash in my hand, I've got a credit card and that should buy me anything.

Wrong. They don't take Discover (or American Express) at my favorite burrito place. I find this out after I've ordered, by the way.

So I walk out trying to figure out where to go next. I'm hungry. I want something relatively healthy and fast. McDonald's is not an option. Plus, it's cold out. Not Milwaukee cold, but cold enough that I don't feel like walking any farther away from the office than I already have. My choices therefore are limited. Fuddruckers - no. Starbucks - no. Capitol Grill Barbeque - definitely no. And then there's Subway. Ok, I haven't been there in a really, really long time. It's easy and that's where I head.

At 2pm it's not surprising that I'm the only customer in the store.

I order a tuna sandwich, extra pickles. Here, extra pickles evidently means they give you a second slice. And let me be clear. Their pickles are not sliced the long way, nor are they spears. They are the little round sandwich pickles you see on the commercials for hamburgers. Two? That's barely even a serving of vegetables under the Reagan administration. A little lettuce, a few olives (most of which fell off in the process of wrapping up the sandwich) and I had my lunch.

The same man that made my sandwich took off his plastic gloves to ring me up at the register (where they do take Discover), looks up and then asks, "what kind of sandwich?" Huh? I'm the only person in the store and YOU made the sandwich. Maybe I misunderstood. So I said, "What?" And he said, again, "What kind of sandwich?" And I replied, "You made me a tuna sandwich." To which he said, "oh yeah."

Weird. Just weird. (but a good tuna sandwich)

Saturday, February 09, 2008

Landing in Snow

It occured to me as we were landing on a snow-packed runway that maybe planes should have snow tires. Now I know that won't help them land any more smoothly but maybe once we have to taxi on the snow it would be helpful? Or maybe it would help them grip the runway better for take-off?

I flew Northwest on my recent trip to New York. On three of the four flights the pilots were saying good bye and thank you to us as we exited the plane. That's unusual, I think.

More disturbing was how they seated everyone. First they let the first-class folks board. I'm not sure why they do that. So that the rest of us can see how comfortable they are and resent them the rest of the trip? So we can see that they already have beverages in real glasses? Or maybe so we can resent the amount of space they still have overhead for suitcases that we aren't allowed to use?

Then they seat people who need extra time and those sitting in exit rows. I would think with more space in the exit rows, they don't need the extra time. And then, if you are a frequent flyer with Northwest at whatever various levels exist, you can go find your seat. And then, finally, if you are just some average joe who doesn't fly often enough to warrant belonging to a loyalty club and didn't pay enough extra money to sit in first class or evidently an exit row, you can board the plane. And hopefully you don't need to put anything in the overhead bin, because at this point, there isn't any room left.

And don't even think about asking someone if you can move their coat across the aisle so you can use the overhead space. Instead, you can squeeze your suitcase 14 rows back from where you are sitting, which defeats the whole purpose of sitting close to the front in the first place.

Did I mention that the pilot thanked me?

Friday, February 08, 2008

My Law & Order Episode

I was in New York this week, and as the cab driver drove me from La Guardia to my hotel we went through Central Park. Here's what I know about Central Park: that's where they find a lot of bodies on Law and Order. I didn't see any, but I'm sure if we had driven just a little bit slower I would have.

And then I took the New York Subway for the first time. Not by myself, and I'm pretty sure that it would take me a while to figure out if I ever had to do it regularly. There are letters and numbers and different colors. I think it's a bit like playing twister. There are a lot of Law and Order scenes involving the subway, too. People running through cars, getting crushed by them, running down the stairs, jumping turnstiles.... I didn't see anything too exciting or television worthy during my ride.

I realized on my way back to the airport that Law and Order doesn't have too many scenes that film there, so I stopped looking for familiar sites. And as usual, I didn't see any famous people, or maybe I did and just didn't notice...

Tuesday, February 05, 2008

Stop that Jew!

I don't usually watch House. And if and when I do, it's usually because Ronnie's taped it and is watching it later. I couldn't have told you that it was on Tuesday nights but evidently it is. I'm sitting in a hotel room trying to get work done and figured I should invite my tv friends to join me. Other than Law and Order reruns and Super Tuesday results I didn't think there was anything on.

Now, I like election returns as much as the next person, but they break into the shows when another state closes, so I figured if there was anything that couldn't wait, I'd hear about it. Which meant I could watch American Idol. Not worth watching really, but worth having on in the background. And then thankfully it was over.

And House began. The first scene was a Jewish wedding, and a fairly observant one at that. They got most of it right, except it didn't appear that any of the women were wearing wigs. The men's beards looked pretty good and certainly better than the Law and Order I saw the other night. I'm pretty sure there that the costumer raided the Amish closet for beards rather than the Jewish closet.

Anyway, later, the husband's mustache looked pretty fake, and I'm pretty sure that someone with an untrimmed beard would have a good haircut, but that's just me. My favorite line - Dr. House has a final idea of what might be ailing the new bride as she's being wheeled into surgery and he calls down the hall, "Stop that Jew!" (And the last two lines of the show had House and Wilson saying "Shabbat Shalom" to each other.)

Saturday, February 02, 2008

Bad Oatmeal

Evidently it IS possible to make bad oatmeal. Or at least accidently make it too bad to eat.

I am pretty good at making oatmeal. Not the instant kind. I'm not big on measuring, but if you mix some water, oats, dried fruit (usually raisins, cherries or cranberries), cinnamon and maybe a little soymilk around on the stove for a while, at some point, you've got pretty good oatmeal.

This morning I was not so lucky. First, the only oats I had in the house were quick-cooking that I'd made some cookies with before I went to Israel. So that threw me off my game to start with. And then, there were only dried cherries. Always good, but it's nice to have a little variety. And then, there was the cinnamon. On the second shake, the lid fell off the jar. It didn't look like THAT much cinnamon.

I was wrong. The oatmeal was virtually inedible. I say virtually because Ronnie still ate it. I'm not sure why. Or how. I got a few spoonfuls in to my bowl and decided it was subconcious portion-control. The rest got thrown away. At least our garbage will smell good.