Playing catch-up: Summer and Fall

Whoops, haven’t been doing much blogging!

We finished out our time in Knoxville with a few roadtrips: NC, Chattanooga, and a hike up to the Appalachian Trail.

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Gwen, Nick, Rachel, and Alice

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the Gwens

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brewing an all-grain batch

DSC_0915 DSC_0914We met up with Gwen’s cousin and his family at the Children’s Museum.

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…..and sought refuge in this art museum, because we thought we might otherwise die from the heat.

DSC_0971 DSC_0966And then on the way home got stuck in a crazy tornado!DSC_1007 DSC_1024

We made it up to the Trail on our last day in the south.

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The drive home was more insanity.

DSC_1125 DSC_1122 DSC_1121When we got home we were clearly starved for culinary creativity, since we didn’t have much of a kitchen in Knoxville.  These are the products of our kitchen in August (the yellow dots are bottles of the lager I started in May):

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Dave set up his own all-grain system at home. I am trying to get him to do a post about it!

And we got in one camping trip at Rifle River.DSC_0084

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we picked up MORE cast iron accessories in TN!

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We dine on Pear Clafoutis when camping because we are FANCY

DSC_0170 DSC_0121 And then we were back to life as normal for the fall semester!

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road trip

We loaded the five of us into the car (we are traveling with our fish, what is wrong with us) to come up to the midwest.  While the weather in Knoxville is lovely, it’s nice to have some unseasonably cool WI weather–a week of 75-80!

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These two are ridiculous.

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I spent one day unearthing stuff like this in my Oma’s room.

Aw, Madison's like a real big city! In other news, Shakti is closed and Fair Trade now takes plastic.

Aw, Madison’s like a real big city!
In other news, Shakti is closed and Fair Trade now takes plastic.

I am a driving machine!

I drove down from EL to Knoxville last weekend, with the cat, the dog, one bettta fish, too much stuff, and myself in the car.  It’s an 8+ hour drive, and I only made one stop!  If that’s not cool enough for you, look at how much I had to drink on this car trip:

Two coffee, two water.  100 OUNCES!!

Two coffee, two water. 100 OUNCES!!

Summer Detox, part 1

Because of various circumstances, we’ve noticed that we’re faced with some (minor) challenges this summer.

Dave is working in Tennessee most of the summer, and my schedule did not completely line up, so we’ve been living apart this month.  This means:

1. One of us (me) does not have a car

2. One of us (Dave) does not have our “stuff”

I really do not need a car on a daily basis.  We are lucky to live pretty close to the main bus line in Lansing, and I can get most places on it.  I can also bike anywhere I need to go when it’s not raining.

Dave headed down to our empty summer apartment with only what would fit in the car–no bed, no table, no pets!  (They’re going down with me.)

With the changing weather, we’ve been thinking more about eating vegetables, and especially since the lab is secluded, Dave does not have many options for lunch.  He’s started packing salads almost every day, leading us to a vow, seemingly trivial but hard to do consistently:

3. Eat leaves every day

And finally, a friend has roped us into giving up sugar for the month of June.  Again, I’ve been reexamining my cooking habits and thought it best that I take a break from my baking addiction.  Michael Pollan suggests that if you have to have your junk food, at least make it at home–you can monitor what goes into it, and you’ll probably eat less of it because of all the labor involved.  Challenge ACCEPTED.

But really, summer seems like the perfect time for me to turn off the oven, and lay off the flour and sugar and butter.

4.  Eat no (added) sugar

When I take a look at these, I can’t help but think they’re each a kind of detox.  So far I am LOVING not having a car.  Life is a little slower, but there isn’t the stress that comes from cramming in as many errands as you can in a short period of time, or from speeding to work because you left late because you can, because you have a car in which to speed to work.  And I can’t speak to how the apartment is with hardly anything in it, but Dave tells me that our neighbors keep asking when I’m showing up “with all the furniture” (the answer is never).

I’m not going to assume our lives will be changed or that we’ll sell all of our belongings after this, but I am looking forward to a different lifestyle for a bit.  That’s what summers are good for!

Route 66

After Christmas we stopped in Mesquite NV and then headed back east.  Not wanting to repeat our snowy adventure, we followed old Route 66 back to the midwest.

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leaving St. George, and the temple

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had to drive through Colorodo City, given the opportunity

had to drive through Colorado City, given the opportunity

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Barley at Lake Powell

Barley at Lake Powell

Dave at Lake Powell

Dave at Lake Powell

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by now we were driving through the reservation

by now we were driving through the reservation

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how'd ya like to live there?

how’d ya like to live there?

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almost every old town on Rte 66 was dead

almost every old town on Rte 66 was dead

DSC_0205DSC_0206DSC_0208DSC_0209We were glad we got to see this part of the country, and even more glad that we only encountered snow during the last two hours of our trip.   To accomplish this, though, we drove through the night nonstop from Albuquerque to Lansing!  Sometimes you just want to get home.

Barley goes to Utah

–Guest post by Barley the Dog–

We went on a long car trip.  We drove for a day, slept in the car one night, and then I got to go one of my favorite places, the Ames dog park!  Then we drove more, and then we slept two nights at this place in Laramie.  They did not have a dog park, but we were waiting for the roads to clear.  OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAWe got back in the car and drove some more.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThen we FINALLY got to Utah, where I met my friend Lucy!

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAUtah also had lots of snow.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERALucy and I had lots of fun, and got lots of treats.

P1100554P1100549LOTS.

P1100560 Lucy’s mom is really nice!P1100543We also had lots of time for napping.

P1100547P1100576Naps and snuggles.

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My friend Lucy

My friend Lucy

Toronto in November

We went to Toronto in November with our friend Dante. It’s a great city, and the fourth-largest in North America! Despite this, we found it really pleasant, not too intimidating, and very easy to get around on bike or foot.

We definitely subscribe to the tourism-by-eating philosophy.  What better way to experience a new place?  We had brunch at this place, which is one of the best places in town according to the locals:

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA We had to wait in line, but it was worth it!  They had lots of great savory breakfast sandwiches.   OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Had to stop at this amazing chocolatier.  They have a very old……cocoa bean smasher?   Don’t know what it’s called, but it was cool! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA Made it to the Art Gallery of Ontario.  I really liked the architecture in general, and the cafe looked like we were inside a boat! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

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Dave and Dante

We were staying near Chinatown and the Kensington Market, which were great attractions with awesome food!OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAThe last thing we did was take a ferry to the island right next to the city. In the summer it is a popular picnic and beach spot, but in the fall it was pretty deserted except for the few residents. It still had great views though! OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

The weather was too crappy to go up the tower, but other than that we felt like we got a really good taste of the city.  We highly recommend Toronto!