Sunday, June 30, 2013

Taste of New Glarus 2013

Brother Teej recently moved to Belleville, WI after starting a new job in New Glarus.  Wanting to see where he now lives, Brother Teej picked me up on Saturday morning and we headed towards Belleville.  This weekend conveniently happened to be Taste of New Glarus, so we actually stopped there first to explore.

One of the earlier stops was New Glarus Bakery, where I bought a few treats:

New Glarus Bakery WI
New Glarus Bakery
New Glarus, WI


New Glarus Bakery WI
New Glarus Bakery
New Glarus, WI


There were lots of neat shops with vintage and hand-crafted items:

Vintage shop New Glarus WI

New Glarus makes me think of the beer/brewery, but New Glarus is well known for its Swiss heritage.  There were reminders of this all over town:

New Glarus Foods Inc
New Glarus Foods, Inc.
New Glarus, WI

There was an art fair going on in a nearby park.  This guy below (right) makes banjos out of various materials.  He was also entertaining to talk with, and he brought this picture into existence:

New Glarus WI banjo

It rained off and on while we were in the art fair area, but I'd say most of the time it was not raining.

These two gentlemen put on a nice performance:


Brother Teej and I treated ourselves to some homemade brats.  I had the apple brat, and he had the beer & onion brat.  Nom nom.

Taste of New Glarus apple brat
Apple brat at Taste of New Glarus
New Glarus, WI

On the corner was this cheese/chocolate shop, where I picked up two New Glarus post cards.


We had stayed in about a two-block radius while at Taste of New Glarus, which encompassed the town's hotel and most restaurants.  The population is only 2,172 there; Brother Teej says everyone has to go to the post office to pick up their mail.

The short drive to Belleville was pleasant, thanks to all of the green:



I forgot to take pictures inside the brother's new house, but I did get a shot of his huge backyard (with porch).  The lot line goes a bit beyond the farthest tree, to the soccer goal post that you can't see very well:  


That will be an awesome backyard for grilling and throwing disc.  It's also a nice area in Wisconsin for biking and other outdoorsy activities.

Oh, I did get one picture of inside the house, but just in the basement.  Because of all this rain in southcentral Wisconsin, his basement was flooded.  That morning when Brother Teej left home to pick me up, it was actually dry down there (after much vacuuming and drying the previous couple of days).  But the little rain that happened during the day seeped right back in, since the ground is still so wet from the week's storms.


I had never vacuumed water before, so I gave it a go.  Brother Teej had to actually turn it off in order to get me to stop...heh

------

If you've never been and live nearby, I recommend a day trip to New Glarus -- preferably on a day when they have a festival.  Apparently festivals happen all the time in New Glarus, so you're in luck.  It's a quaint little town that makes me feel a little more connected to Europe.
• • •

Thursday, June 27, 2013

Thankful Thursday: 6/27/13

[Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that began 1/10/13 - read why here.  I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!]



Yesterday I got together with an old friend from high school, AW.  We've only seen each other a handful of times since I moved back to Madison last fall, but it felt the same as always.  I got to see most of his family too, at Concert on the Square beforehand.  I'm grateful to still be friends with AW and his family; it makes me feel more at ease about leaving for another year, knowing that time and distance doesn't equate to the end of friendships.
• • •

Monday, June 24, 2013

Wisconsin Swiss 2013: Reca's first U.S. ultimate tournament

Over the weekend I played in my first ultimate frisbee tournament in the USA: Wisconsin Swiss!  It was new to me because all of my previous tournament experience took place in Spain (well, one in Brussels).

At the Wisconsin Swiss tournament I played with a team called Boomtown Pandas.  Here's a team picture on the last day:


Can you find me?  I'm in the front, second from the right (with my red/white Q+D hat from Madrid).

For those not from the area, we have had a lot of rain lately.  I've heard people say that this is the most rain ever recorded in Madison (in half a year, I'm assuming).  So Saturday morning it was raining, surprise surprise.  It wasn't raining that hard, but during our first game it was chilly, and the drops did impede my vision (I wear glasses).

Near the end of the first game the rain picked up.  This was the ONE day I had decided not to wear leggings under my shorts, because it was supposed to get into the 90s that day (It did, later).  We lost that first game, and then went to the main shelter while waiting to find out who we'd play next and on what field.  The wind started to pick up with the rain.  It was cold, wet, and windy.  And cold.

Now when I play ultimate in spring/summer/fall leagues in Madison, we only stop play if there's lightning.  Well, we must stop play if there's lightning.  But rain itself won't stop ultimate players from playing.

Okay, so soon it's time to warm up for our second game of four, so we head back into the rain and wind, onto the fields.  We're about two seconds into a drill when it's announced that games have been postponed until further notice.  We go to a nearby roofed shelter to wait for further instruction.  Apparently the owners of the fields (the tournament was at a soccer park) said there was too much standing water in most of the fields, so we couldn't play on them anymore.  Field condition.

Our captain talked with the team we were supposed to play second, and agreed that we would drive to a park just five minutes away and play our game there.  Two other teams came with, so we could all play three more games that day - like we were supposed to.


The rain stopped and the sun (and heat) came out at the nearby park.  It was really fun to take over the park, and the informality of it all (coupled with the smaller number of teams) took away the tournament pressure and made playing more enjoyable.  Playing was also enjoyable because my captains were amazing, and everyone on the team had such great spirit.  I always get a bit nervous before playing with a new group of people, but there was absolutely no need to worry with this team.  We won two games and lost one.

Many teams dropped out of the tourny and went home after the other games had been cancelled on Saturday.  Thus on Sunday there were considerably fewer scheduled games.  The people in charge of the soccer park said we could play on two fields.  To give you an idea, on Saturday morning the tournament had been using somewhere around 12 fields for simultaneous games.  So each team only had one scheduled game on Sunday, since there were only two fields to play on.  

We lost our 1:20 game, which was the last scheduled game of the day.  It was night and day difference from when we had arrived on Saturday morning, since now the only people in this huge soccer park were my teammates and our opponent.  The opponent left soon after the game ended, while Boomtown Pandas stuck around to enjoy the sun and play some other games with frisbees.

The weekend ended up being really fun with our impromptu small tournament at the nearby park on Saturday, but it was a bit shocking to me.  It made me realize nothing like this had ever happened at a tournament in Spain.  No games had ever been cancelled because of weather -- it just doesn't storm often there.  You get what you pay for at each tournament -- including lots of playing time.  I only remember it raining during one tournament in Spain, and that was in Pamplona.  And it was only during the last game, and just some sprinkling.  

Most people at Wisconsin Swiss were recalling other past tournaments in the midwest that have been cancelled by bad weather.    Apparently at this yearly tournament called "Dick and Jane" there's always bad weather.  Hmm -- I knew I had it good in Madrid, but didn't realize I had it that good!
• • •

Friday, June 21, 2013

Geology museum at UW-Madison

The sister had been wanting to visit UW-Madison's Geology Museum for quite some time now, so we went last Saturday with mother.  I have faint memories of being there when I was younger, perhaps for an elementary school field trip or something, but I also went at some point in college (sophomore year when I was in an evolution class, I believe).

Minerals

At the end of the first open space, there was a display of minerals from the R.A. Greiner Mineral Collection.  The collection comes from Dr. Greiner, who was a professor in the Department of Electrical Engineering for 36 years at UW-Madison.  I liked the variety of colors:

Minerals UW-Madison Geology Museum
10. Azurite (Namibia)
R.A. Greiner Mineral Collection
UW-Madison Geology Museum

Number 10 (above) is Azurite from Namibia.  Number 20 (below) is Cavansite on Stilbite, and it's found in India.

Minerals UW-Madison Geology Museum
20. Cavansite on Stilbite (India)
R.A. Greiner Mineral Collection
UW-Madison Geology Museum

Around the corner were displays of some minerals that naturally glow under black light:

Glow in the dark minerals UW-Madison Geology Museum


Some fossils in a large slab:

Fossils UW-Madison Geology Museum


Boaz Mastodon

"Following a stormy day in 1897, four young farm boys, the Dosch brothers, were amazed to discover large bones protruding from the eroded bank of a water-swollen creek at their farm near Boaz in Richland County, Wisconsin. Soon the whole family, neighbors, and friends were at work excavating what was to become known as the Boaz mastodon."

That's the first paragraph on the sign in front of this Boaz mastodon skeleton:

Boaz mastadon, UW-Madison Geology Museum
Boaz Mastadon
UW-Madison Geology Museum

Most of the skeleton and lower jaw are real, but plaster models were used for the several missing bones.  Replicas include the skull and tusks, right legs, and the foot bones.

This Boaz mastodon is on display next to a fluted spear -- which was reportedly found with the skeleton.


Giant globe

One of my favorite parts of the Geology Museum is actually just outside of the entrance.  There's a giant (taller than me), rotating globe that you're not allowed to touch -- but it's fun to look at!


If you go...

Where: 1215 West Dayton Street; Madison, WI
Hours: 8:30am - 4:30pm Monday - Friday, 9:00am - 1:00pm Saturdays
Cost: Free!
• • •

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Thankful Thursday: 6/20/13

[Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that began 1/10/13 - read why here.  I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!]



Today my friend JJ, his younger sister, and his cousin all came to my ultimate frisbee game!  JJ has been a good friend for nearly a decade, but I don't think he's ever seen one of my ultimate games -- so it meant a lot.  It had been a couple of years since I'd seen his sister, and a year or two since I'd seen his cousin, so it was great to reconnect. 
• • •

Monday, June 17, 2013

New Seoul Korean Restaurant

This past Saturday after a trip to the Geology Museum, mother, sister, and I went to lunch at New Seoul Korean Restaurant on Old University Avenue.  This is, of course, in preparation of my move to South Korea this fall that I have alluded to in various blog posts, but not announced formally.  It's happening!

Starters

We walked in and were seated right away in the small yet comfortable restaurant.  The other occupied tables at that point were all tables of Koreans.  We took that as a good sign.  After enough time to explore the menu we ordered.  Then our server brought out four small plates of different starters right away (we didn't order these).  She explained what each one was, then let us be.  We weren't sure if we were supposed to wait for our meals and use them as condiments, or to pick up our chopsticks and start eating them right away.


After a bit of hesitation, we decided to just go for it.  There was a plate of kimchi, the traditional fermented Korean side dish that others have told me I'll need to learn to love.  My favorite of the four was some type of potato dish; it was really sweet.

Appetizer

Then out came the appetizer of kimbap that the sister and I had decided to split.  Kimbap is, "Rice, fish cake, fried egg, yellow pickled radish, carrot & spinach all rolled up in dried seaweed," according to the menu.


I was being adventurous when I suggested we order these, and I wasn't sure what to expect.  Guess what?  I really liked the kimbap!  It could have been my whole meal (I sure filled up on enough of them before tackling my "real" meal).  It helps that I love rice, but the slight flavor from the seaweed, mixed with the variety of small treats inside the rice made a really pleasant taste.

Main courses

My main course was chicken bokum: chicken, cabbage, carrot, green pepper, onion & red cabbage.  I ate half in the restaurant, and the sister got my leftovers.  It was delicious; I enjoyed tasting a new flavor, distinct from American Chinese or Thai food.

All of our courses came with a bowl of yummy, sticky white rice.



My mother ordered the shrimp bokum: shrimp, broccoli, carrot, green pepper, mushroom, onion & zucchini in a sweet & sour sauce.



And the sister got tukmandu soup (I think!): dumpling, sliced rice cake, shredded beef, egg, green onion, onion, with dried seaweed on top.  I got her leftovers since she got mine -- this soup hit the spot, too!



I've already used the word once already, but the food at New Seoul Korean Restaurant was delicious.  This was my first time eating Korean food, so I don't have anything to compare it to (yet!), but the place does have a reputation of being very authentic.

The service was fantastic; our waitress was very kind and showed the right amount of attentiveness to our table.

If you go...

What: New Seoul Korean Restaurant
Where: 2503 University Ave.; Madison, WI
Hours: 11am - 9pm, Monday - Saturday
How much: Most main dishes fell between $8 - $13.  If you want to spend less, go around lunchtime and ask about lunch specials.
Menu: New Seoul Korean Restaurant menu  (prices may have changed)
• • •

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Happy Father's Day 2013

My mom has lots of great scrapbooking / card making materials, so I was glad to find myself at home over Father's Day weekend.  I used some of her scraps to make a Father's Day card:


Since I started with a flat blue rectangle, the card had no fold and hence no "inside".  In order to include a personal message, I glued an envelope to the back and wrote on a note card that I put inside the envelope.  I then glued more scraps over the envelope to disguise it as a mosaic.

Here's the back side (upside down):


I got to spend Father's Day with my papa + mother, all siblings, and most of mother's side of the family.  And brunch!


• • •

Saturday, June 15, 2013

Happify: Forming daily happiness habits

On June 6 I received an email (definitely mass) from Rick Held, head of marketing at Happify.  Happify is a NYC-based company whose goal is to teach the science of happiness in a new way to a large number of people.  Here's a more detailed explanation from Rick's email:  
"Happify is led by a group of proven serial entrepreneurs who have teamed up with the leading scientists and coaches in happiness research and training. Our goal is to provide users with an innovative new online/mobile product that uses interactive activities and games to help users form daily happiness habits and build social connections with like-minded happiness seekers."
He then wrote that they're looking for "pioneers" to test out the site, so I followed the link and applied.  I'm not sure what search criteria they used to find my blog in the first place, but I'm sure glad they did because the next day I became a Happify-beta Pioneer.

Happiness tracks

There are currently ten different tracks to choose from when you register for Happify.  You can change your track later if you'd like, but I still found it hard to choose my first one.  I thought that by choosing one and not another, I would be missing out on what the other tracks offered.

Happify tracks 1

Happify tracks 2

Happify tracks 3

Happify tracks 4

I narrowed it down slightly by eliminating all of the children/marriage tracks, but only slightly.  In the end I went with "cope better with stress," hoping it would help reduce worry.  I'm currently on part 2 of this track, and plan to try out other tracks in the future.


Cope better with stress: Part 2

I'm not sure how many parts each track has, but here's a screenshot of part 2:



You have a week for each part of the track, and several happiness activities to complete during that week.  Each Happify activity falls into one of five categories: Savor, Thank, Aspire, Give, or Empathize.


Most activities just take a few minutes to complete, and I do see how they increase your happiness, often by changing your focus.  The top right corner of each activity has a "Why it works" button, which explains the science behind the exercise.

Social aspect

Happify is also part social, allowing users to follow other users and see one another's completed activities.  So far, this is one of my least favorite features; I would still be a fan of the site if it didn't have this element.  Followers are for Twitter, I say!  Also, so far most of the activities I've seen/done are personal; the activity is done to help yourself, and the information you provide is usually private.  Sure there's the option of only letting yourself see the post when you complete an activity, but then why have the public option in the first place?  Perhaps there are benefits to the Happify community that I haven't yet discovered, but at this point I feel like Happify's trying to imitate Pinterest, Twitter, and Facebook, when it really doesn't need to.  The content is sound and would stand well on its own.

Five free Happify invitations

Does Happify look like something you'd like to try out?  I've got five three invites left!  Leave a comment with your email address and tell me which track you would try first!  Tweet me your preferred track (@RebeWithaClause) for another chance to win.  Five lucky commenters/tweeters will be selected June 23.
• • •

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Thankful Thursday: 6/13/13

[Thankful Thursday is a weekly segment that began 1/10/13 - read why here.  I invite you to join me in practicing gratitude!]



Today the younger brother came home from LaCrosse for the weekend.  I don't think I've seen him since we went to a PostSecret event in Madison in March -- wow, is that true?  Tonight he came to my ultimate frisbee game with my mother.  I'm glad they were both able to come watch (we won 13-1!), and that I'll get to hang out with him for the rest of the weekend!
• • •

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

How do you pronounce "caramel"?

Just wanted to share this really neat resource some of you might have already seen popping about on the internet this past week.  Graduate student Joshua Katz (NC State) published maps of the United States using data from Bert Vaux's online survey of English dialects.  The maps show differences in word-usage/pronunciation within the country, and there are over 122 maps for different questions/pronunciations.  I'll just post a few of my favorites below to spark your interest:


#105 What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?
English dialect survey results Joshua Katz
What is your generic term for a sweetened carbonated beverage?
Source: Joshua Katz, Dialect Survey Results





#103 What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?
What do you call the thing from which you might drink water in a school?
Source: Joshua Katz, Dialect Survey Results





 #4 How do you say the word "caramel"?
How do you say the word: "caramel"?
Source: Joshua Katz, Dialect Survey Results


Click here for access to all 122 maps -- I found them very interesting to look at!
• • •

Saturday, June 8, 2013

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

My first ultrasound!

Yup, I had my first ultrasound today!  No, not of a future mini-me; the ultrasound was actually taken of my achilles tendon and part of my calf.  But it was my first, so the statement's true (albeit misleading).

I work in an engineering building on campus, and a friend who works in a lab down the hall needed one more "young" person for a research trial.  I wasn't sure what to expect; I only knew that it involved taking images of my achilles tendon, and that I needed to wear something that exposed my calf.

I wore a skirt to work that day and brought jeans along in my bag for afterwards.  My email reminder about the trial asked that I walk for six minutes prior to my start time, so I did that while I got the mail.

The first thing I had to do was sign a form allowing the research group to use my results and the personal health information I provided.  Then we got started.

They put this foot brace on me, which held a gel pad in place.  Before sliding the gel pad in, they squeezed a bunch of that cold ultrasound gel on (like in the movies with expecting mothers).  There was an opening in the back of the brace so that the ultrasound could be taken of my achilles tendon.


Below is the setup.  There was a shoe attached to a device, and the ultrasound machine is on the left side.  So I laid down on my stomach on the black table and put my foot in the shoe.


Opposite the table was a desk with a laptop.  During tests the laptop played a metronome toc.  There was a thermometer-looking thing on the right side of the screen that I had to watch.  When I pushed my foot and extended it, the orange "thermometer" went up.  There was a line at 12.5 degrees and -12.5 degrees.  I've dubbed the screen "metronome thermometer":



Every time the metronome ticked, I needed to push and extend my foot until the orange line hit +12.5, and on the next tick I would bring my toe back until the orange line lowered to -12.5.  There were three different modes that the test was done at: a light mode, during which it was easy to keep the beat; an involuntary mode, where they moved my foot for me; and a heavy mode with some weight resistance.

I found it impossible to stay exactly on the beat during the "hard mode", because after I pushed my toe out to +12.5 on beat, the weight slid in a split second later, so it took longer to pull it back.  There was lag when I would push out again, and soon enough I'd get behind the beat.  Having a musical background, it really bothered me to be off beat.  I'm not sure how much it mattered whether or not I was exactly on beat, but during the heavy modes I'd always get off and skip and wait to get back on again.


There were a couple different sets of the three modes.  During two sets, I think, images were taken of somewhere on my calf, and during another set, the achilles tendon.  The whole thing took exactly an hour.  I was happy to help, and it was fun to do something out of the ordinary this Wednesday!
• • •

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Resolutions Checkpoint: May

Hello summer (June)!  Time to check in on all of my new year's resolutions.

--May Focus--

Following suit of what I did in April, I chose again to only focus on one area during May: mindfulness.  The first few days of the month I quietly meditated for five minutes before bed, but the habit did not form (I wasn't tracking it anywhere that I could visually see!)  I'll be announcing in a few days a new online happiness tool that I get to "pioneer", which should help with mindfulness during June.

--Updated Resolutions--

Since we're nearly halfway through 2013, I went through all of my resolutions from January and decided to eliminate the ones I haven't touched (that aren't overly important to me), tweak some, or in a few cases add a completely new goal.  I want to focus on fewer goals for the rest of the year and really see some progress.  So, you'll see less each checkpoint from here on out (but hopefully more "+"s)!

--Overall Progress--

So here we go, my current progress on all resolutions that made the cut:

Books
  • (+) Read 32 books -- I've read 14 books of 32, which means I'm on track (according to Goodreads).
  • (  ) Five of the 32 will be in Spanish -- I have read 1 / 5 books in Spanish. (Hermanos monigotes II)
  • (+) Five of the 32 will be books that I own in my apartment -- I have read 8 / 5 books that I own in my apartment.  Now I'm hitting up the library again, and reading ebooks on my kindle.  
  • (-) Two of the 32 books will be in French -- I have not sought out any French book yet, but after I finish my current two I'll head back to the library again.
Health
  • (+) Take probiotics every day -- I'm still taking probiotics most days, but haven't been tracking it.
  • (+) Read JJ's info from health center; read the health book his Dr. recommended -- I've read pertinent information from the book The Road to Perfect Health, lent to me by JJ.

Personal 
  • (-) Write in journal every day -- I wrote in my journal 6 / 31 days in May, again I'm aiming to bump that up in June.  I started this journal on June 13, 2012, and I've only got about 28 pages left.  My goal is to fill them all up by June 13, or July at the latest.  I've got an awesome journal that I bought in Paris last fall to use next.
  • (  ) Only log in to facebook 1x/day maximum -- Some days I log in to Facebook more than once a day.  I think there will be a post this month about my conflicting feelings about Facebook, since it's been on my mind lately.
  • (+) Focus on gratitude -- I've been keeping up with my Thankful Thursdays, as well as mailing out thank you cards for various reasons.  The happiness site that I'm "pioneering" should help me keep focused on gratitude for the rest of the year.

Fitness 
  • (+) Do something physical at least two days a week -- Having two frisbee games a week for the rest of the summer, I should be able to continue meeting this goal.  I usually play a third day each week at a practice.
Guitar 
Languages 
  • (+) Go to the French conversation table! -- Now that my ultimate games aren't on Mondays anymore, I've started going to French conversation table again (right after Spanish Conversation Table, which is being organized by me this summer).  I'm quite pleased with my participation in these language groups this year, and have made friends from both!
  • (  ) Learn basic Korean -- This is a new goal that I decided to add this month, so we'll see how it goes at the end of the month.  I'm talking basic, basic phrases.  The alphabet.  That would be a good start.
Travel 
  • (+) Visit Hannah in Canada -- I'm going to a town near Montreal for two weeks in July!  It's coming so quickly, and I'm very excited to reunite with Hannah, Max, and Hermann.  Mis amigos!
Blogs 
  • (+) Blog once a month on Oh No She Madridn't -- I just changed this goal from once a week to once a month.  I think that will be more attainable and feel less overwhelming.  And I did post once in May, so I get a plus!
  • (+) Comment on at least two blogs a week -- I continue to do this, though I haven't been tracking it on Chains.  Maybe that means I've formed a habit!
MOOCs 
  • My 100-hour TEFL/TESOL certification course is nearing its end.  Because of the summer seasons and my limited time in Madison, I've decided to eliminate the MOOC goals I had.  I'd rather spend time outside with friends than behind a computer screen studying on a sunny day.  When I do find myself with time behind a computer screen (perhaps this fall/winter while teaching in Korea...), I want to tackle programming. So some language will be first -- maybe html.

--June Focus--


My June focus is going to be staying off of the computer when I get home in the evenings.  I spend all day in front of a screen at work, and although I usually learn something interesting and love reading blogs / browsing the web, the time would be better spent reading, writing in my journal, or playing guitar.

How is everyone else doing on their new year's resolutions?
• • •