Friday, August 29, 2008

It's Harley Time!

Milwaukee is a great place, and especially this weekend for the Harley Davidson 105th Anniversary. I, of course, won't be around for the bulk of it, but even just the taste is pretty good. Last night on the way back from the airport, there was clearly a rumble in the air and WAY more motorcycles on the road than usual.

This afternoon I'm working from Panera and it is definitely not the standard Panera crowd. There are the senior citizens, the moms with their pre-schoolers, and the riders. One woman just walked in looking every bit the soccer mom carrying a big black helmet. And there are clearly many other riders here as evidenced by more leather boots that one would usually see on a Friday afternoon here. And, I'm sitting at a window by the street - it's loud with the rumble of bikes and pretty hard to get work done because the different bikes are just so interesting to look at - not to mention it's all really, really cool.

Too bad I didn't pass my motorcycle class.

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Go Figure

I'm in DC and getting on the train this morning. I was going to sit in a seat by the door but I noticed a man with a white cane and big yellow safety goggles on. Being the well-mannered person that I am, I moved out of the way to let him sit where he wanted and figured I would sit down after him.

He moved to the middle of the car so I sat in the seat by the door. Ten minutes later I look up and the man is reading the newspaper. Huh? I know there is probably a perfectly good explanation for this - I just don't know what it is.

Thursday, August 21, 2008

There are certain people....

I'm in a cafe right now and it's pretty busy. There are the requisite screaming kids accompanied by their parents who are pretending to be oblivious, a few of us still working despite traditional business hours being long over, and a few other interesting souls - like the man who got a small cup of coffee and is playing solitaire and gets up every few minutes to raid the samples of bread.

And I see, once again, that there are certain people who can pull off different looks and many, many others who cannot.

For example, one woman who just picked up her food is wearing a pinkish looking track suit. Except the pants are really more capri length. I could go on, but really, it just doesn't work. Doing yoga in the privacy of her own home - fine. Out in public - not so fine. And she's not old - she has no excuse for not being able to see how this looks on her. And then there's the woman who's wearing a blue fitted skirt with big orange flowers on the front and back. If I saw this on the rack, I would understand why it was on sale, but for some reason, this works on her.
There's another trio sitting in a booth - a mother and her two children. The daughter looks exactly like the mother, which is unfortunate because the mother never learned to use anti-frizz product in her hair and therefore neither has the daughter. I know, call me mean, but I'm just telling it like I see it.

One of the people who works here is starting to put away the outdoor tables, chairs and umbrellas. I'm not sure if he can tell as he's dancing to his own beat that we can all see him. He's been dancing for a few minutes now, sometimes using the chairs as props. I'm not sure he's the one I'd like to make my salad....

Monday, August 18, 2008

Too Much Fruit

I found Pete's. It's a produce store on the South side of Milwaukee that is located in the Hispanic part of the city. That's only relevent because I think I was one of the only non-Spanish speaking customers in the store yesterday afternoon.

Now you might ask, why go all the way to the South side of town just to buy produce (let's be real, I live in Milwaukee - it's just not so far!). Well, first of all, this is the only real produce store in town. Other than this, it's the regular supermarkets or the co-op or Trader Joe's. Not that there's anything wrong with those places, but I was looking for a different kind of experience.

I found it.

They sell baskets of things (tomatoes, plums, peppers, grapes, in addition to other things I couldn't identify) for $2 or $3. Not per pound, but per basket. So you can't help but buy baskets of things. You can also buy them by the pound, but somehow it doesn't make sense to pay whatever the cost is per pound for plums when you can get 25 of them for $3, right?

And there in lies the problem.

I now have 25 plums. And a cantalope and a honeydew, some apples, maybe 15 tomatoes, and a bunch of peppers, an eggplant, some grapes, and a jicama. Yes, a jicama. And a husband who might eat an apple and who tasted a piece of honeydew this morning. I'm clearly in trouble.

Sunday, August 17, 2008

Food at Camp

I kid you not - this was dinner last week at camp: cheddar broccoli soup, macaroni and cheese, ziti with sun-dried tomators, salmon cakes, corn bread, and apple crisp. Except for the tomatoes and very tiny green flecks in the soup, everything was yellow. I did not try the ziti or the corn bread but can confirm reports that the macaroni and cheese was excellent.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Reflections on Karaoke

Until last night, I'd never actually been to a karaoke night. Now I know why and I learned a lot.

1. The people who really can sing are nice to listen to, but boring. The people who can't sing aren't boring, but they also aren't nice to listen to.

2. I learned that even when the words are flashed on the screen in front of you, people still don't know how to to put them into the music - even for common, popular songs.

3. I learned a lot about the people in our group. Songs from Grease and the 50's were popular for some reason, as were a few country/western songs. That alone was pretty bizarre. And then there are the groups that go up and really have no business being anywhere near a microphone. But they honestly think that they can sing. This is a YouTube video waiting to happen.

4. I also learned that I am a decent emcee. Not too much harassing of the so-called talent, and definitely not too little. Plus, I got a few people who never expected to be on stage, on stage. Like our president. And the observer sent from a major philanthropic foundation. After that, I was hoping I hadn't cost us a huge grant.....

5. Lastly, I learned that the true colors of some people come out. They might be singing songs from Broadway musicals with a group, but then they are channeling Lynyrd Skynyrd when they're singing alone. Truly fascinating.

Saturday, August 09, 2008

Rockerbox in Milwaukee

We were wandering around old neighborhood this afternoon and came across some closed off streets, a LOT of motorcycles parked, and a band. This was Rockerbox. There was a bike show, all the people that went with all of those bikes, vendors, and music. What made this a particularly typical Milwaukee event was that nearly everyone was walking around with a beer in hand and for a fairly hot summer day - there were a lot of people wearing leather. Even the kids had cans in their hands which actually (and surprisingly) appeared to generally be soda.

As we walked around we realized several things:
  • There seemed to be pre-set tattoo minimum for anyone walking around either carrying a beer or wearing leather. I couldn't tell exactly, but that number seems to be somewhere between 4 and 17.
  • Vintage records, falafel and schwarma, funny t-shirts and vegan brats make for fairly interesting vendors - and that doesn't include all of the motorcycle-related tents.
  • Someone is making purple port-o-potties. I thought they were all blue and I was clearly mistaken.
  • We are not very cool people.

Friday, August 08, 2008

Airports are NOT Casinos

I have a friend who believes that airports are like casinos. She's never actually been to a casino, but she's heard enough to know that there are no clocks, they are loud, bright and constantly in motion. There are clocks in airports, but you generally have to search for the time on the bottom of the monitors, and so I'll give her that point, since you'd have to get up and go look for the time if you needed to know and didn't have a watch or cell phone (or a friend with a watch or cell phone).

But, according to my friend, the most important similarity is that because of the constant motion and people and lights, you are automatically awake in both environments, even if it's the middle of the night.

I am here to say that is just not true. In fact, it's so not true that I almost missed my flight last night. I closed my eyes for a little while, wasn't actually asleep, but definitely lost track of time for long enough to open my eyes when the plane was nearly fully boarded. Had I had interesting people to watch, or slot machines to play, maybe I may have been able to force myself to be wide awake, but really, there's only a very, very small chance of that.

Airports are loud, and there are too many people, but it's not enough to keep you (or me) awake in the middle of the night. At least at a casino the people are interesting to watch - especially in the middle of the night.

And in case anyone is wondering, there were no celebrities on my flight that I could tell, at least not from my middle seat way in the back of the plane.

Thursday, August 07, 2008

Crocs in LA

People in LA do not seem to be wearing Crocs. That's ok with me, but I feel a little out of place. I wore mine on the plane here, and I'm pretty sure I was the only person doing so. Everyone else was either dressed to the nines (after all they are coming to LA), or wearing grungy clothes and flip flops. Really - those were the two options - high heels or flip flops. And there I was in my Crocs. Oh well.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

Ginormous Boca Burgers

Several weeks ago, I bought a box of 16 Boca Burgers at Costco. They've been languishing in our freezer ever since. I go through phases of eating them and evidently when I bought them, the phase was ending.

The phase is now starting up again and for lunch I pulled a burger out the box. It looked abnormally large. So I pulled out another and lo and behold, it was the same size. I thought maybe I was misremembering their size and was maybe thinking of some other brand of veggie burger. But I was pretty sure I wasn't.

I think that a minute in the microwave is about how long they take to heat up. But not this one - it needed another 30 seconds. Still - I thought maybe I was off on the time. But then - I finally discovered proof that this box contained Boca Burgers that were too big. "What?" you ask. Well, it turns out I needed 6 or 7 pickles to cover the burger rather than 4 or 5 (if you can find a really tiny one to go in the middle).

But still, this was strange. I looked at the box - Original Vegan Boca Burgers, 100 calories. I went on-line. Sure enough, the Boca Burgers that come in the regular packages of 4 are 70 calories. It turns out that the big burgers ones are the ones restaurants use when they serve Boca Burgers.

Who knew?! And of course, It doesn't hurt that I was right about it being a bigger burger and taking longer in the microwave. And the extra pickles were good, too!

Friday, August 01, 2008

Respite from the Heat

Who knew that respite from the heat could be found at a grocery store. We were working on some last minute cleaning of the rental house this morning and we were soaked with sweat. But I was also working my real job and had a conference call to be on at noon. When beads of sweat are rolling down ones face, it's not so conducive to focusing on what other people have to say. It's not so conducive to anything really, plus, it could probably short out my phone.

Thankfully, two blocks away is a grocery store. And, given that we live in the modern era, it was a very air conditioned store and a great place to take my call. And of course, right before the call I needed to get something to drink. So I'm waiting in the 15 items or less line with my Diet Dr. Pepper and looking at what everyone else has in their baskets (because I do that).

The man in front of me had a New York Times and a tub of the generic equivalent to Cool Whip. That was definitely not a combination I expected to see. And the woman in front of him had a lot of things (probably well over 15!) including 2 cans of Campbell's Chicken Noodle Soup. I can understand eating gazpacho in the heat, but definitely not chicken noodle soup!

The problem with this store - it was too cold. So I had to keep walking outside to warm up. And, there was no where to sit inside, so being outside was actually better because at least there was a semi-comfortable bench (made out of 31,000 recycled plastic bags). That bench was worth not using re-usable bags right there!