Thursday, August 30, 2012

Hippie Chronicles: Vinegar

Behold: super classy pictures of vinegar on a toilet. My toilet, if you were curious. Well, my old toilet. I took these pictures before we moved but have just now decided to share them.

Ahh vinegar. That's right, we're friends now. We weren't always friends... And to tell you why, I must go back to middle school. Unfortunately. Once when I was of middle school age, I had a beloved aquarium. It was 29 gallons with plenty of lush green (plastic, ahem) plants and freshwater fishies. At one point, I had a tiger barb named Melvin. I can't remember any other names at the moment, but that's really beside the point. Arizona had incredibly hard water, and at one point I was really frustrated with all of the water deposits built up on my aquarium's glass. I was moaning and complaining to my mom about it when she suggested cleaning it with vinegar. I curled my lip in disgust and I'm pretty sure I physically spat at the idea. Gross, really? There's no way. But moms are always right, aren't they? Vinegar did the trick and took away all of the hard water deposits without killing any of my fish.

Thinking about it now, it seems to be a pretty good rule for cleaning. If it's safe enough for Melvin the fish, it's safe enough for me.

I read a great book recently called The Healthy Home by Dr. Myron Wentz and Dave Wentz. It has some silly dialogue (if you read it, you'll know what I'm talking about) but was really useful. And rather scary as well. There are so many toxic things in our home that we never stop to think about.

Take cleaning products for example. The book explains, "We use sterilizing products in the hope of avoiding a cold or flu, but those agents don't go away in just a few days. Solvents that break down organic matter will also break down the same sorts of molecules you find on your skin and your lungs. They need to be toxic in order to kill germs." 

I'd rather not be using cleaning products that not only break down germs, but also my own body and my family's body. This article has more information if you're curious, and I also recommend reading The Healthy Home.

Which leads us to back to vinegar.  

There's plenty of online resources and recipes for making your own non-toxic cleaning products. Me, I like easy. So, once I stopped buying toilet bowl cleaner I made the switch to vinegar. Did I whip up some cleaning recipe? Nope, I just dump some vinegar straight into the bowl. I use my toilet brush to wipe the vinegar up the sides of the bowl, let it sit for 5-10 min, and then scrub again and flush. Works like a charm.

I think the best part is that vinegar is dirt cheap! You can buy it be the buckets for a few dollars.

For even more awesomeness, check out this website called 1001 Uses for White Distilled Vinegar. A good friend, indeed!

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Hodg podg

A few random photos and thoughts. Which may be mostly about my cat. I'm not sorry.

Isn't there just something about a cat in a window?

I've been eating pretty salads.

And taking pictures of my cat looking into my soul.

Lars likes to be held. He may be the first cat I've had that likes to be held. And of course I melt every time. Bonus: cat holding and husband.

When my parents were in town, we went to the Saylorville Lake visitor center. It rained on us the whole time. Our routine is predictable: Jason kindly holds umbrella, I take blurry pictures.

Has anyone else been following along with Ashley's adoption journey on her Under the Sycamore blog? Her post where her new daughter is united with her family made me weep. I can't say a blog has ever done that but what an amazing story. It is a reminder of how powerful blogging can be and how beautiful life can be.

Also, a blog post written directly to me with cute picture of my nephew?!? So much happiness. 

Monday, August 27, 2012

Thrifting adventures

Goodwill was so good to me on my last visit. One pleasant surprise about Iowa is how much cheaper the thrift stores are. A different thrift store was selling all clothing for 10 cents a piece! But along with cheaper prices, they are twice as scary. Items piled on the floor everywhere with claustrophobia-inducing narrow aisles. At Goodwill, the skirts were somewhat organized by color... but the blouses. I just couldn't brave it this time. Aisles and aisles of t-shirts, tops, blouses, and sweaters. Sometimes separated by type, but the shear volume and chaos is just too much for me. Someday I will work up the courage.

Thrift stores are the best for buying skirts. It's so much easier to find skirts that hit at the knee, and there's an abundance of classic a-lines. Did I mention they're cheap?
Bonus points if you can find the Lars hairs.

Little rascal thought I set up the skirts so he could take a bath on them. It's kind of embarrassing how many times I kicked him out but then he would sneak back in because our door doesn't close properly. He would immediately position himself on the skirts. I have maybe 3 pictures of skirts, and 10 with skirts + kitty.

I got the shirt on the left for Jason. He calls it too old-manish and bright-colored, I call it vintage. And the shirt on the right I managed to grab out of the shirt aisle before I had to dash out in terror. I'm hoping to layer this shirt under some sweaters. Did you hear that Arizona? Layering a shirt AND a sweater - what?

I also found these dainty little cups. Did I need them? No. But they had dandelions. (You can imagine how well this reasoning went over with my husband)

I also got some frames for a new frame collage in the living room as well as a nice woven basket/trash can. I'm getting better at this thrifting business, I am!

Saturday, August 25, 2012

A very white coat

Jason had his white coat ceremony!

My parents came to lend their support. We're so glad they're able to drive down to visit; it was something we have missed since they moved to Wisconsin. (My dad's wearing a bolo. And a plaid shirt. Later on, he took off the bolo and put on some plaid shorts. Plaid on plaid. My dad, the fashionista)

I wish we could have taken these pictures outside, alas, it was raining. All day. My poor, poor hair.

It's awesome to see Jason as a part of a professional ceremony. Sooner than we know it, he'll be walking again but as a doctor! Until then, he's Student Doctor Lunt with one fancy white coat. And already rocking his tests - first one, 96%!!! What?! Just med school, nbd.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Aaaand, there's your dresser

This is kind of an old story, but I still want to share it. 

Back when we still had our moving truck, we were trying to find some of the furniture needed so we wouldn't have to pay for the delivery. One thing we needed was a credenza-type piece for our TV. I found a dresser on craigslist that wasn't perfect, but it was mid-century modern and for the price it would do.

After emailing the owner, I told him what time would work for me. The next day at our appointment time, we go to his house, moving truck and all. As in, us circling the block more than once trying to develop a strategy for parking, at least one argument about said parking, me getting out of the truck and waving Jason into the driveway, moving truck and all. We were ready for this dresser.

We weren't sure if we should go to the front door or not, so we stood in the lawn for a moment when the owner comes around from the side of the house. He was college age and for some reason I could imagine him as an actor in a Renaissance fair. Maybe that gives you a better picture of him? Anyway, he reached out his hand and introduced himself. We took turns shaking hands and then we stood silent, looking to him for direction.

He paused, then gestured to the street and said, "Aaaaand, there's your dresser." I blinked in confusion as an SUV accelerated off into the distance. It took me longer than it should have to realize what was going on, but when I looked back at him, I knew. My eyes narrowed. I didn't need to look at Jason because I could feel his reaction.

The guy told us in a jolly manner that he had developed his own method of dealing with craigslist. Tell everyone to come at the same time and whoever gets it first, gets it. And apparently, some other family had beat us to the punch.

I really hold no residual anger towards Renaissance man, I only wish he would have warned us. Because like I said, we were moving truck and all. Our time felt wasted but once we got back into the truck and simultaneously spit out a few choice words about our friend, we felt better.  We know an even better credenza is out there, we just need to find it! (and sadly buckle down and pay a delivery fee)

Aaaaand, that's the end.

Tuesday, August 21, 2012

The windy [hot, humid] city

More Chicago pictures! Half of these are still from our first day.

We walked along Lake Michigan for a while. It was so lovely! So simple, so classic.

Well, until you got up close, I guess.

Downtown Chicago is a sea of blue and silver.

I have so many vertical pictures. Landscape pictures just don't capture all of those tall buildings.

Now this, I am a bit disappointed about. We tried many times to take a picture with this fridge pic public camera but when I looked through the gallery online, nothing! Ah well, I still enjoyed it. Also, note the magician with a deck of cards in his mouth. Is there anything dirtier than a deck of cards? Gross.
At the end of day one, we went and crashed at our hotel/watched the Olympics earnestly.

The next day, we headed to Navy Pier. Oh look, a pirate boat! I hate to say it, but I was disappointed with the pier. Too touristy for me, and nothing really worthwhile to go see, except maybe the ferris wheel.

It was lovely, I'll give it that.

Unfortunately, we had to wait in line about 15 minutes with no shade and blistering, sweltering heat. Not the best way to get excited about the ride. The views were nice, but (don't be fooled by our smiles) we were already grumpy at this point.

Then we spent at least an hour trying to get to the next museum. Walking, walking, waiting for the bus, and walking some more. More heat and humidity, and we were verrry late to lunch. I learned that food needs to be a priority on vacations to keep our spirits up (okay, really just for me) as I basically started turning green and bulgy-eyed. I was acting more and more irrational/irritable, so thankfully Jason made sure we got food before the museum.

And how refreshing it was! And air-conditioned! Our first Chicago dogs, in Chicago.

After our relief of a lunch, we went back to the Surgical Museum. Jason found Hippocrates, I found a mirror.

Oh, and another one.

The museum was in an older building, so I was more interested in the actual building than the museum. Whoops.

Oh you know, just a human body cross-sectioned into countless pieces. The reflection is bad, sorry, but what you can in the photo is mostly the gentleman's legs. Kinda like pork chops!!

I'm so sorry I said that. Will I ever be able to eat a pork chop again?!

Monday, August 20, 2012


(Obviously this is going to be a good year for me, Jack Bauer has placed a special blessing upon it.)

I have been itching to go camping for ages... like since we got camping gear for our wedding 2 years ago. I am terribly ashamed that our tent sat unused for so long. I wanted to go in AZ but it was difficult to work anything out with our schedules (hospital schedules put a serious cramp on weekend trips). And then Kate had to keep taunting me with amazing camping pictures, hellllooooo! The idea didn't come to me until the morning of my birthday, so I'm incredibly grateful we were able to make our little spontaneous camping trip happen.

It was perfect.

To backtrack a bit, for lunch before we left we ate ribs and zucchini slaw. It was the first ribs I've cooked and I was thrilled. Jason was ready to move to Texas.
(For the record, this was Jason's plate, and yes, his eyes were bigger than his stomach)

We went to Ledges State Park. It was less than an hour away; a quaint forest campground in the middle of corn fields. Everything in Iowa is in the middle of corn fields, you see.

This is possibly the grossest thing I've posted on my blog. We found some millipedes.

Those legs are what nightmares are made of.

To counteract that terror, here's a pretty flower!

The best hotdogs I ever did have.

And yes, we ate them as is, no bun, no toppings, no utensils. Cause we were camping.

The gooiest, messiest marshmallows!

Hot dogs and s'mores again in the morning. Oh yes we did.

Possibly even gooier the second time around.

I will leave you with the life story of our campfire. I miss him.