Architecture I Appreciate

April 28, 2011 § 3 Comments

the Milwaukee Art Museum’s building is a masterpiece

Milwaukee Art Museum

the Milwaukee Art Museum is my favorite building. the architect was so innovative when he designed that building to look like a tall ship. the wings open when the museum is open, and the wings close after hours. the collection inside the building is nothing to sneeze at. if you’ve never been there, you should make an effort to go! the building sits on the lakefront, and the view from the front of the ship is lovely.

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His Work

April 28, 2011 § Leave a comment

Josh opened his show last night: The Tooth of Crime by Sam Shepard, music & lyrics by T Bone Burnett. He was smashing. Just brilliant. I knew it, but I was nice to hear others say it as well. (Actually, everyone around me was gushing his praises – and, rightly so.)

Josh plays this guitar in the show. I wish we owned it. It’s awesome.

 

Josh flattered me last night: he asked how I thought the show went. This is a big deal because I am not an actor by trade; I did not major in theatre in college, and I have a self-cultivated understanding of good theatre. Nevertheless, Josh asked my opinion and where I thought improvements could be made. I loved chatting with him about the show intelligently and talking about understanding the thick language in that play.

Don’t forget to talk with your family about what you do all day; it’s such a great connection to make. I’m glad Josh considers me to be smart enough to understand what he does at work.  It makes me feel clever.

To Administrative Professionals on Administrative Professionals’ Day

April 27, 2011 § Leave a comment

 Happy Administrative Professionals’ Day! As an Administrative Professional myself, I appreciate everything you do for our businesses around the nation.

Thanks for keeping papers organized nicely so I can find something if you’re out for the day. Or, more realistically, thanks for keeping papers organized nicely so you can find something if I’m out for the day. Thanks for filling out forms and writing letters that I don’t have time (or that I don’t want) to do myself. Thanks for screening my phone calls so I don’t have to talk to that one vendor who keeps asking if I want to buy his products. (If I’ve told you once, I’ve told you a thousand times: I will call you when I need more products!)

You Administrative Professionals deserve something special on this day. But, I didn’t get you anything because you always order that kind of stuff. So… go ahead and order yourself some flowers. Please remember to stay within the given budget in our policy. (You should know where it’s filed.)

Once you’re done ordering your flowers, please take this pile of papers to the next building. It’s raining; you’ll want a jacket. Then, please put this month’s statistics into the spreadsheet. I need this done before 5:00 pm today. Don’t forget to write thank-you notes to these four donors, and please reply to this patron’s complaint about homeless people using our bathroom. Oh, and I’d like you to order this furniture for the office before the fiscal year ends on Saturday. (Don’t put it on your credit card – have them send us an invoice by Friday.) Make sure you put August 10 on your calendar for an all-day business planning meeting, and take the department manager meeting off your calendar for June 8. I need you to call the electric company and ask them to see if they can install lights in Room 12, add outlets to the south wall in Room 215, and look at replacing the halogen lights in the lobby. (Tell them we will never get halogen lights again.) Please order a new bin for the Lost & Found items – the current bin is not big enough. Oh, and can you go through the Room Reservation database and give me a count of the days that the room is totally free for use for the rest of the year? You’ll have to click through the system day-by-day to figure that out. Thanks! I’m going to lunch!

A Clean Pot Is a Happy Pot

April 26, 2011 § Leave a comment

Good Idea: Buying a copper pot. It conducts heat very well and therefore cooks food very evenly.

Bad Idea: Buying a copper pot. It oxidizes very quickly when exposed to oxygen or water/steam.

Copper is a beautifully ductile metal and is therefore used as an alloy in pots often. However, oxidation is the other side of that copper coin. (Get it? Never mind.) Oxidation causes the pot to discolor and look unclean. One is able to purchase many different types of polishes to keep one’s pot bright ‘n’ shiny, but I wanted to try a few different inexpensive methods of my own:

Lemon juice & salt, Bar Keepers Friend, ketchup

Oxidized Pot!

I remember cleaning pennies with vinegar & salt as a little girl. I used lemon juice today instead of vinegar knowing that I just needed an acid to clear up the copper oxidation. The same principle was behind using the ketchup. I’ve been using Bar Keepers Friend for years on all my pots (of any material), and I wanted to compare the results with the acid-based cleaners.

Rinsed after 3 minutes

As you can see, the lemon juice & salt win this round. The ketchup performed poorly – I had high hopes for him. I spread the Bar Keepers Friend with a wet washcloth, so it got a little abrasion, but not much; I think it did pretty well, too.

I tried to clean the rest of the pot with the lemon juice & salt, but the smell of the salt made me gag (always has – don’t know why), so I switched to Bar Keepers Friend.

Rinsed after 15 minutes

There are still a few spots (like freckles) on the pot, but it’s pretty clean without too much elbow grease on my part:

Happy Pot

Although the oxidation of a copper pot has little to no effect on the thermal conductivity, a copper pot looks so much nicer if you polish it after every use. I truly believe a copper pot is worth the pains of polishing it; I like my food to cook evenly. My grandmother has a copper-bottom pot, and she tells me she does her best cooking with it. I myself have a copper pot – which I may give away once I start having children and cannot spend every waking hour at the sink polishing my pot. But, that’s a different story. For now, thanks for having thermal conductivity, Copper.

Iced Green Tea à la Starbucks

April 25, 2011 § Leave a comment

Starbucks’ Shaken Green Tea is one of my favorite Starbucks drinks. I enjoy to drink it, but my budget doesn’t allow me to drink it every day. So, I make my own version of the lovely brew; it’s not exactly the same, but it keeps me happy:

4 cups boiling water

4 cups + 1/2 cup cold water

12 regular green tea bags (Tazo makes a lovely green tea blend, but I use Kroger because it’s cheaper.)

Sweetener of choice (to sweeten 1 gallon of tea)

1. Pour 4 cups very hot water (200 degrees F or so) over tea bags. Steep 5 minutes (no longer than 15). Remove tea bags and add sweetener. Stir in 4 cups cold water. This is your Concentrate.

Concentrate

2. Measure 1/2 cup Concentrate into a glass and add 1/2 cup cold water.

3. Add ice and top the glass with a lid. Shake to mix.

4. Remove the lid and insert a straw into the cup. Enjoy!

The Concentrate can be kept in the fridge for about a week. Actually, it might be able to last longer, but I always drink it within a week.

Enjoy your green tea! There are so many benefits from drinking it. (And, if you can stand to drink it without a sweetener, you are reaping even more benefits! Well done.) Cheers!

Playing Dress Up

April 25, 2011 § 2 Comments

 Girls like to play dress-up. Perhaps this desire is instilled in us from a very young age just like the idea that any girl can mary a prince… or perhaps the idea that snakes are creepy… or maybe the idea that fresh breath is socially acceptable. Parents really try to make sure that their kids understand the ways of the world. Kudos to my Mom & Dad.

I like putting an outfit together and making it my own. This concept started at a young age thanks to my parents. We always had a box of dress-up clothes to play with whenever we wanted. One year, Mom and Dad were on a particularly tight budget for Christmas, so they went to Goodwill and bought about $20-worth of clothes for us to put in our dress-up box. It was amazing!!! My sister and I played for hours with each other and our friends. A large hat immediately makes a girl feel like she is important, and nothing says, “I’m beautiful,” like a long string of fake pearls.

May I encourage you to do the same with your girls? (Or boys – I will admit that my brother played dress-up with us until he was 6 or so.) Find a thrift store in your area – preferably one that gives its profits to the needy and not the overhead – and create a dress-up box for your kids! It doesn’t need to have a lot of clothing items in it – accessories are what make the outfit!

Incidentally, I still have a dress-up box, but it’s built into the wall (and I share it with my husband). I still fill my dress-up box with thrift store finds, and I have found that a string of pearls still makes me feel beautiful. Well done, Mom & Dad. You’re so clever.

Edit – Here’s what my mom said about this picture:

“This is such a sweet memory – money was so tight, and I was so concerned about what to do . . . Dad made the box (I think . . .) and I was so excited at how much I was able to find for so inexpensive. I went on the “blue tag” day – whatever clothes had blue tags were 1/2 off! I know we had that box for a long time. Thanks for finding this picture! 🙂 (did you steal it from me?)”

Ode to a Cereal

April 24, 2011 § Leave a comment

Oh, Crisp’n Fruity Rice, my friend, in bag or bowl or box,

I like you well. I like you most. I like you lots and lots.

Your packaging informs me well:

First tear, then pour, then close.

I also note your cereal kin,

But I’ll have none of those.

I like your smell when first unzipped.

I like your sound at Spoon’s first dip.

I like to crunch my first few bites

And slurp the last with bowl upright.

And, so, my friend, my off-brand chum, you can be worry-free:

Though sugar-filled and without fame, you’re all the same to me.

Where Am I?

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