Sunday, December 21, 2008

Sleep Insanity

I've been slowly going insane about my mattress. It isn't flat. It curves down towards the center. I KNOW it does. But how can it, it's less than five years old. Is it all in my head? Is it the way I sleep on it? Or perhaps how Mike sleeps on it? Or a combination? Is it the bed frame or the box spring or something like that? Somehow it can't just be the mattress, because mattresses don't just die after less than five years. Especially when I notice it and Mike doesn't.

But really. It is all saggy.

It's getting worse, though. I convinced Mike to try flipping the mattress, even though the pillow top would be down. That was a disaster. We tried removing the box spring. Also not quite right, but at least the sag is less noticeable.

I just need a new mattress, I finally decided. Today in my research, I looked to see what kind of mattress we have. A Spring Air something-or-other. I looked up different kinds of mattresses, especially the latex kind, which I find especially appealing for their longevity. I don't want any more saggy problems for a while, you see. In the midst of my research I came across a compilation of owner reviews of mattresses. Curious, I looked up owner reviews of Spring Air mattresses.

Spring Air has the lowest owner reviews of any inner spring mattress. Due, in large part, to premature sagging.

At least I know I'm not crazy.

~KZB

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Employed At Last!

On Monday, September 15, 2008, I will begin my job as an Assistant State Public Defender in Walworth County. After just about one year of being without a full-time paying legal work, I will begin my first job as an attorney proper.

And a criminal defense attorney no less. :) Hells yes.

I'm psyched. The only bad part is that I'll be commuting an hour and fifteen minutes each way every day. Quite a drive. I think, however, that the job will prove more than worthwhile. It is a small office, which will allow me a lot of experience working different kinds of cases. I will also have a very interesting boss who will offer me direct training in everything I need to know. The work environment is supportive, which is important in a stressful job!

You can be sure that I will be writing more about this job as it goes. Nothing that violates the rights of my clients for privacy, but interesting things no less, I'm sure!

Yay! I'm going to be a real lawyer!
~Kristen

Wednesday, August 06, 2008

Oh, Favre...

This whole Favre thing just breaks my heart. It's like a romance gone bad. I found this comment on an ESPN.com website and thought it was a good summary:

"we can all relate to how farve feels. it's like if you brake up with your girlfriend, realize you made a mistake, and try to reconcile a couple of weeks later, ony to find out she's moved on with some guy you know. then she tells you she doesnt want you dating any of her hot friends, like the one in minnesota. but you are more than welcome to date the ugly friend in new york, or the "almost" cute one in tampa bay. by they way the one in tampa is a bit of a tramp who has five boyfriends already."

Oh, yeah, watch out for that hot Minnesotan friend! I love it. :)

I felt bad, but you know, it's time to move on. Cauterize the wound and move on.

~Kristen

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Fishing in Florida

I'm currently on Captiva Island in Florida. It's very rainy today, but yesterday was the perfect day to go fishing with Jimmy's fishing charter through the Santiva Salt Water Fishing Team. My dad, brother Chad, his fiancee Amanda and I went with Captain Jimmy Burnsed on a four hour fishing charter in the Pine Island Sound. Very cool.

Dad and Chad had gone fishing with Captain Jimmy for years. I was never interested. In the last few years, however, I've been fishing with my husband and his family up at Big McKenzy lake. The prospect of going salt water fishing was interesting, and I thought it might be a good opportunity to see some neat wildlife besides. Amanda had never been down here to Captiva, and had never, ever been fishing before. She came along because I did, and it seemed like the thing to do.

First thing we did when we got out to our first spot was to throw a bunch of minnows out into the water. It didn't take long for a bunch of black-tip sharks to show up. Holy cow, sharks! They weren't real big, only two or so feet, but that was a little scary! Nothing as scary as when I started HOOKING the sharks! I was reeling it in, and I could SEE the shark on my line! I started screaming right away, because there was NO WAY I was pulling it into the boat without someone there to catch it, because I don't care if it's only a little black tip shark, it is a SHARK with TEETH.

Well, I waited too long for help pulling it up into the boat, and it snapped the line and took off. Three hooks later, and sharks were dancing out of the water and Amanda and I were being called the shark-catchers. To be fair, Amanda hooked the first shark, but I don't know the story of what she was thinking quite as well!

After 5 lost hooks, Jimmy put some heavier line on the end of my pole and I actually managed to pull in a black tip. It was probably the smallest of the bunch (which is why it didn't take my hook, I'm thinking). Scary as heck! He asked if I wanted to hold it, and I said HELL NO! But I still got a good picture with it!















It's a shark! It could take your finger off without a thought! And I caught it!

Amanda also caught a shark before we decided we wanted to go somewhere with fewer sharks and more eating fish. We headed over to a really shallow area, about 3 feet deep. It was an oyster bar, teeming with neat sea life! We saw a dolphin, a leatherback turtle, a bull-head shark, some spoon-bills flying over head, an osprey, and all sorts of neat stuff.

The fishing was darn good, too. We used chopped up lady fish for bait (I caught two of these) and threw them in over the sandy parts of the oyster bars. Chad caught a really nice redfish that we ate for dinner last night. Mmmm. My favorite is super-fresh redfish! We had it cooked at the Lazy Flamingo. It was amazing!

We had some other great fishing adventures as well. Dad's big catch of the day wasn't a fish at all. We had stopped by North Captiva (a very private island only accessible by boat and very, very expensive) and were fishing with more minnows, and had attracted quite a number of gulls and shore-birds. Well, one of them made a dive for dad's minnow and got caught in his line. Like the good person he is, he reeled in the gull to untangle it rather than just cut the line and leave it to be tangled and maimed. When it got to the boat, however, it was in no mood to be saved, thrashing and snapping at my brother when he tried to grab it. I shouted at my brother to move, ripped off my hat and took off my cover-up shirt and threw it over the bird's head to calm it down, then gently picked it up so that we could untangle the line. The bird was perfectly still and calm while dad unwound the line from its legs. Then I uncovered the bird, and with one parting snap at my fingers, it flew off. That kept the birds away for about 15 minutes. After that, we shouted at the birds to ward them off.

There was a really neat bird fishing under the boat with us for a while, too. It was an anhinga (or a cormorant, we can't decide), a bird that swims faster than fish to catch them under water. It would surface by the back of the boat while I fished and look at me as if to thank me for attracting all the yummy fish! Chad saw it underwater and thought it was a shark! The best was when I caught a fish (barely bigger than my bait) threw it back in the water, and the anhinga came and gobbled it up. :) Glad it didn't go to waste!

The best fish we caught that day was at that clam bar I was talking about (didn't want to spoil the fun by giving it all away right away), and it was caught by Amanda. The dolphin was circling around us, seeing what we were up to. It started hanging out by where we were throwing our hooks, and that made us nervous. All of a sudden Amanda's hook was hit hard, the dolphin took off, and everything went nuts. We all pulled in our lines so we could focus on helping her. Something was running fast on her line. Jimmy told her to start reeling in anytime the fish stopped running, and to follow it around the boat if it moved. Amanda couldn't see anything, because she wasn't wearing her glasses, but we assured her that there was something on the end of her line. We could see the size of the thing when it got closer. It was a monster. See for yourself.

It was a 42 inch long, 21 lb snook that Jimmy guessed was about 16 years old. It was huge! She couldn't even hold it by herself! He said it was the biggest snook he had ever helped anyone catch. Remember, this was the first time Amanda had ever been fishing.

The funny thing about snook is that you can only keep snook between 28 and 30 or so inches because of the way they breed. They only mature after 6 years and are supposed to be fantastic eating, so they're over-fished. This is the farthest north you can even find them. So, we had to put this beautiful fish back, but will never, ever forget the excitement of catching it, and the look on Amanda's face!

That was seriously the biggest fish any of us had ever seen in person.

The birds would line up on the dock when we returned from our fishing expedition. They knew that if we were successful, they would get the fish guts. It was so amazing. There was a snowy egret that landed on the boat before it even docket to start picking minnows out of the live well. Then the pelicans arrived to wait under the fish-gutting table for scraps, just like doggies in a row. Just hilarious.



And that is my tale of fishing. Today, it is raining and I am resting. Tonight my family is having dinner with Bonnie and Gene, Mike's Aunt and Uncle, who are staying at their timeshare on Sanibel Island. It should be really nice.

Hope you enjoyed the pictures as much as I enjoyed taking them!
~Kristen

Friday, March 21, 2008

Correction

Please don't take my last post to mean that I want you to vote for Hillary. Until the democratic supporter is decided, I'm behind Obama.

Obama will probably be on of my favorite people even if he's not the nominee. His speech was so important. Yes, it was during an election and a reaction to a somewhat negative situation. No, that's not ideal. But this is when the man has the stage, this is his opportunity to make his words heard, and I admire him for them just the same.

I think I should write more about his speech and what it meant to me. In order to do so, however, I'm going to have to get into a lot of things about my past, my experience as a Chapter 220 student in integrated schools, my struggle with race, and how his speech brought that all together. That's going to take a while. To be honest, I have to finish up a job application right now, so I shouldn't take the time.

But I did want to clarify my current support for Mr. Obama, my conviction that he is a fabulous orator, and that his speech should be heard by all, not just in snipits on Fox News.

And how sickening it was, after listening to his speech, to hear the news outlets wondering what "black people would think of his speech." I wonder if they listened at all.

~Kristen

Monday, March 17, 2008

Gender and Politics

This is a great article about "Post feminism" and gender issues in politics these days. This really captures how I feel, particularly about the gender issue in regards to Hillary Clinton. I didn't vote for her, but I deeply understand the huge support she has from older women, and why her candidacy is important. In some ways, I wish she weren't the wife of a former president, or didn't have some of the connections she does. It is important that this nation have a woman president just for the sake of having a woman president. That is not something that I say lightly, but it is true.

Until people stop laughing when a man shouts "iron my shirts" at a female candidate just as they would if a white man shouted that at a black candidate, the blinders to gender and sex inequities will still be firmly in place. I am not satisfied to live in a nation where the most powerful people are old men and the pretty young women who destroy their careers.

~Kristen

Saturday, March 01, 2008

Yuck! Plastic Living In the Oceans!!

You have to take a look at this story. Why isn't it getting any press here in the states? Why don't we know that there is now so much plastic trash in our oceans that we cannot hope to clean it up?

I'm just flabbergasted. Here we talk about maybe cutting back on plastic bag uses, and no one even thinks to bring this up? This is one of the ways in which our over-use of petroleum and petroleum-based products has impacted the earth, and not a way that we normally would think of.

We should probably be discussing this.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Ben is Famous!

Well, more famous. An entry from his blog got picked up and published in The Capital Times this week here in Madison. It's not like he's never been published. I don't keep track of the number of times any more. What I was particularly impressed with was the honesty and frankness of his writing, as though he were writing only for himself, and that it was still picked up by a newspaper as something worth putting in print. *I* think it is worth putting in print, but I'm generally surprised when traditional sources print something worth reading. Overall, the Capital Times is a progressive paper, but hey, it's still print and therefore suspect.

So, go read the blog. It's about how the Capital Times is going to go "online only." Very hip, and probably because of corporate reasons. It's a cool article. Read and enjoy with your hip latte and beret, you progressive non-conformist you.

~Kristen

Monday, February 04, 2008

Pig Brain Allergies Anyone?

(for all of you like my husband, please not that the blog title is also a link to an article)

I went to get my allergies tested today. Oh boy. First, they had me not take any antihistamines for five days. They asked me to do that as though it was no big deal. It was kinda a big deal. Let me put it to you this way: I remember mom having to open up the capsules of my allergy medicine into applesauce so I could eat it, because I wasn't old enough to swallow pills yet, and I learned the difference between left and right by having to remember which arm I had to have my allergy shot in from week to week. No big deal.

I've not felt so great for five days, let me tell you.

I got lots of scratches. That was fun. It's really not a big deal. It's fun to watch the hives grow and meld together. The worse part was the 14 needles they had to shoot under my skin to do further testing when I didn't react enough to the scratches. Just great.

What was interesting was my *new* allergies. Yes! I have *brand* *new* *allergies*!! I've always been allergic to those old things like all trees, all grasses, most molds, animals with fur, and "remarkably" allergic to dust mites. Blah blah blah.

I am *now* the proud new owner of allergies to cherries, peanuts, almonds, walnuts and sesame seeds! Oh, and cows. I'm also allergic to cows. I didn't actually know that before.

But that brings up all sorts of questions. They didn't test me for many foods, and my doctor said he doesn't trust the reliability of the fruit and vegetable antigens that they did test me for. Even so, the only symptoms I had of the nut allergies were headaches. Could there be a connection between my headaches and allergies? That makes me want to do further testing to see if any other sensitivities come up that I can avoid to make these headaches less terrible.

Then again, perhaps I just think they're terrible because I have been miserable for the past 5 days without my antihistamines. Ugh.

Right, the article. All this talk of allergies made me wonder what allergies can really do to us. We don't have a cure for allergies or asthma or eczema. We don't really fully understand the human auto-immune system. This article is a very, very strange example of that. Involving pig brains. And Minnesota. What's not to love?

~Kristen

Sunday, January 13, 2008

video

These are some wind chimes at a cool store in Door County. They were from all over the world, tuned very precisely, and hung outside in a gazebo. When the wind blew softly, it made them ring in a beautiful, brain-massaging way. I would make my very own wind chime gazebo some day if I could. I think some of the chimes were $1200, though. It would be a very expensive endeavor. I'd have to own a lot of land, too, so as not to annoy any neighbors.

I hope you can get a feel for the really cool experience of standing in this gazebo up in Door County. It is located at the Blue Dolphin in Fish Creek. (I think)

Tuesday, January 08, 2008

Free Rice!

It's a new game that everyone's playing! And yes, there will be free rice! Only not for you, for people who *really* need it!

For you, a lesson in one of three things:

1. How poor your vocabulary really is
2. How lucky you can guess for how long
3. How long it will take you to to realize that cheating feels better when it is feeding the hungry.

Or, perhaps all three?

Seriously, it's worth playing. :) Better than freecell!
What will it take?


Today another ranking listed the US last in preventable deaths in the 19 leading industrial nations. The authors say that doesn't mean that the US has bad health care, it's just bad for those who don't have it.

Well, right! There are too many people without health care, and more and more people without it every day. I am just not sure what it will take for people in power to understand that we simply cannot ethically allow this to be a country where the "haves" have the right to health and the "have nots" don't. We allow all people access to roads, police and fire protection, school and libraries. How can we believe that access to a doctor is any less important?

This has nothing to do with universal INSURANCE coverage. What is this health insurance anyway. I've seen these plans to mandate that everyone buy insurance. You can't squeeze blood from a turnip. The people I used to work with weren't uninsured because they were lazy, I assure you.

This must be a paradigm shift. Or perhaps it is a question of entitlement. Or fear that if EVERYONE had access to health care, perhaps there would be none left for those who can now afford to pay for it. Maybe it is just such difficulty pointing the finger at the party to blame for the state of things that no one seems to be able to accomplish anything at all. Of course, that isn't to say that we don't know who is to blame. We do know some of the offenders. But they're big players in politics, and politics doesn't like offending big players, even if they're also big offenders.

So, maybe it's a question of who we love more, the people or the players. Who do we think deserve to be happier. Are we satisfied with being last? What are we willing to do, if anything, to change that?

I bet nothing changes. But then again, I'd love to be proven wrong.