The past few weeks have been absolutely insane busy.

Well I guess not last week, I was on Spring Break...in Disney World.
I will get to that at another point. If I get started on Disney I turn into a five year old and start going 'And then we did this, and then I saw this, and then this, and then this, and then....'

School is absolutely a horror. The work load is absolutely unbelievable. I guess I was this stressed last year too, but my exams were 5 in one week and then I had a month off. This semester I have had an exam every week (or two, sometimes three) for the last 5 weeks. I still have another 3 weeks that I have 4 exams to deal with. I have a few days off during Easter Break holiday, and then right back to my last exam. I just cannot wait for Friday May 8th comes rolling around. It has been a good semester, I love my classes and what not, just really stressful.

I think you get the point. I am currently trying to let my brain dethaw before I start the last section for my test tomorrow in Forensic Sciences. So I thought it was a great time to announce my summer plans.

I mentioned awhile ago that I applied for an FBI Internship. Well, I found out in December that they cut funding by 75% and there was almost half as less students that would be able to participate. The program being open to only upper under-graduates and all graduate students became even more competitive. The Wisconsin FBI informed me that they only selected 1 student instead of the 3-4 that they were planning. That 1 was not me. I am fine with the decision. I have a feeling I would not have been ready by this summer. I still have so much more to learn before I would feel comfortable putting my foot in the door over there. And I am still so proud of myself for being in the top 12 of Wisconsin.

I decided if I did not get the internship, I would instead apply to study abroad for the summer in India. I spent all January preparing my recommendation letters, application, and essay. It was loads of work, but it finally was finished. And on Monday I received notification that I was accepted into the program!

The program is through University of North Carolina at Raleigh. The program is not based in one city of India. We will spend two weeks in New Delhi and the rest of the 6 weeks will be spent in one of the following cities: Western Uttar Pradesh (Agra, Aligarh), Rajasthan, Jaipur, and Haridwar-Rishikesh. Where one city will be the location of a one week homestay with a family. We will be taking two classes a Hindi-Urdu language course and an Indian literature class. I am beyond excited and it sounds like all the other students are too. I have talked with three so far and I am so excited to meet them in a few weeks at our training.

I would love to keep a weekly blog update of my visit, but I will most likely not be bringing either of my laptops. But! I am thinking about writing out a blog and then sharing that with you all when I get back.

But that is all. I am just so excited that I finally get to see India. A country that I have dreamed of experiencing since I was a little girl. When I was much younger I wanted my honeymoon to be in India. I am in love with their culture, languages, history, philosophy, art, religions, and every teeny bit.

Now that I have put a smile back on my face it is appropriate to learn about Forensic Document Examination...

Have a good rest of the week!


Classic Slice Pizza Review

When I first arrived at my university, I was not expecting the cheese and brat capital of the world to have many vegetarian-friendly restaurants. I ended up really not even looking for any, since I came to school as a vegetarian and it is quite simple to make a dish vegetarian. I also had a cafeteria meal plan (not by choice) and ate a pretty unhealthy amount of grilled cheese and french fries with pounds of ketchup (still waiting for a perfect vegan cheese to make a grilled cheese). But by the end of the year I was vegan! I started to be more aware of the restaurants around me and how it would affect my social habits. I decided to join yelp and was able to look further into vegan-friendly restaurants.

One night, one of my friends was so bored she wanted to go to the mall with me. In other words, she'd rather go through torture than sit at home. I knowing that she must really have wanted to get out of the house suggested instead of shopping with the queen of impulse that we should get dinner. It was all on me to find a restaurant for my friend (who is vegetarian!!) and I. I spent a good 30 minutes reading reviews and searching for a place that had high quality vegan food. We both agreed on Classic Slice Pizza.

We actually got lost on the way there, it is well hidden behind a fitness center. After thoroughly angering the drivers behind us with our slow driving and quick U-turn, we arrived safe and sound. The outside doesn't look like much, but once you enter there is a 'refreshing vibe' (as stated on my yelp review). The restaurant is very small, but has a very industrial cool look. You enter and immediately see a huge bulletin board that is filled with music from hopefuly bands, spiritual meditation classes, and the works. We entered and saw that the restaurant was still pretty packed for 9.30pm. And I have to say I am spoiled living in Chicago where smoking was banned a few years ago from all public establishments, but thankfully Classic Slice is completely smoke-free!

I had heard that they had vegan 'mini-pies.' There are 3 different vegan mini-pies:

Olive tapinade, sun dried tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms and vegan sausage
The Anne Curry: No red sauce!!! curry sauce, broccoli, spinach, mushrooms, tofu and tomatoes
Super Veggie:
mushrooms, spinach, broccoli, basil and your choice of tofu or vegan sausage
Priced at 8 dollars a pop

I decided to try the Super Veggie mini-pie and get an order of their bread sticks. The bread sticks, which were amazingly cheap, so I thought 'why not?' They came out on a full pizza pan, spanning 10 inches in diameter. I am so glad that I had my friend to share them with me, or I would have died. The breadsticks were more so flattened dough that was drizzled with olive oil, basil, and garlic, with a side of marinara. I can't explain how amazing they were, but they were like dropping on the floor and screaming in joy...amazing. I'm not joing. I could have eaten this just as my meal. They were the best bread sticks I have ever had. So fresh and flavorful.

Then the Super Veggie came out, I decided to try one piece since I was already so full. This was packed with spinach, broccoli, basil and vegan sausage (of course, no mushrooms). It was so delicious. All the vegetables were so fresh and perfectly cooked. Not too soft and not too crunchy. The dough is absolutely fantastic as well. My only issue was that I was constantly getting spinach in my teeth. I had to do a fake smile to my friend a few times to make sure that I got rid of as much of the spinach as possible before I asked the cute guy for a box.
If you are worried about the price tag on this beast, realize there is absolutely nothing mini about this pie. I came home with more than 3/4s of the pizza left over.

They deliver to the surrounding areas of the city, but not all the way to my area of the city...lame. But! They think they are opening up a shop near us. I'd die and eat breadsticks every day of my life.

If you are ever in Milwaukee and want a cheap, filling, and delicious meal...head over to Classic Slice.

Sleep in heavenly peace...

The day finally came when my 13-year old Boxer finally gave in to death. My mom said that the last couple days he could barely get up, was sitting all the way down to go to the bathroom, bleeding from the mouth, and then yesterday in his stool. This morning he couldn't get up at all and had wet himself everywhere and didn't seem to even realize he had. He collapsed somehow, but then after 10 mins he finally got up. My parents took him to the vet and they said there was barely a pulse and that they would have given him to the end of the day.

I was very sad when I first called my mom, not even thinking about the appt with the vet about the bleeding. Well my dad answered very upset and I realized what had happened. I shut down for awhile, but in my heart I know it was what was meant to be. I had to let go and I was slowly doing so. I told one of my best friends that I knew the last time I went home was the last time I'd ever see him. That was a month ago. I feel guilty that I wasn't able to be there for him when he needed so much help and more love. He has been deaf for the last 2-3 years now, so he was completely isolated from the world. When my baby girl died last year, he didn't have any dog to rely on as his ears. He began to get worse until he just started sleeping 20 or more hours a day.

RIP MACK 1995-2009

I hope he has found his best friend up there. I miss them both very much.


Lunchbox Mania Continues

Just cause I am so cool with my lunchbox.

But I do have one question, how does one keep moisture from other foods from softening up starches. Im tempted to buy another set of compartments, so I can use two covered lids in a day. But I want to find an easier solution that is still renewable.

Had the same lunch 3 days in a row.
-Half a bagel with organic natural peanut butter and mixed berry preserves
-baby carrots, which seem to get wackier in shape as the pound bag empties
-natural, unsweetened apple sauce with cinnamon
-2 Fruit Leathers

Only one lunch needed to be packed for this current week, since I missed Monday entirely and Tuesday I skipped one of my morning classes...oops

-Apples and Peanut Butter
-Tortilla with hummus, scallions, and zucchini




I have read many blogs that have tons of strange entry points to their blogs. Finally have a few good ones to share:

-cabbage, ribs, tomato (boooooo, better be vegan riblets)
-fucking with veg (ow, ow)
-the resipe to tegan and sara's casserole (I laughed a bit when i saw resipe and now want their casserole recipe)
-whuch cities has sarah already visited (welllll, let me start counting for you)

and finally....

no, I am not joking. I tried putting it in google with no success.

and this ends my procrastination...
I swear!

Power Shift 09 experience

I am still am baffled that it is March. Two months have passed, and I have two months left of school, but in all actuality 1.5 months (Spring and Easter breaks!). The work load the past month and a half has absolutely been draining to the soul. I have had at least one test or more, plus labs and quizzes for the last 6 weeks. That is absolutely absurd and it continues when I get back from Spring break for another two weeks. By the end of it all I will have had 12 big assignments in 1.5 months and only 2 tests for the last month of school. Very very annoying. I am dealing with high levels of stress and lack of sleep.

Last week was no exception, I got 3 hours of sleep, or less, for the entirety of the week. Then woke up at 4AM on Friday morning to head to Washington D.C. for Power Shift. However tired we all were, the energy levels were high that Friday morning. We finally arrived in DC and headed straight to the convention center. We were greeted by this LARGE banner

The first day there was a large job fair. Since, I was not looking for either a job or internship for the summer it proved to be quite useless. I decided to go sit down for awhile, but then headed up the huge staircase that is in that first picture. At the top of the stairs was more tables that were oriented for causes and student organization opportunities. I talked to Campus Progress, Student PIRGs, Forest Justice, and many many more. I was so excited to hear about these amazing non-profits. Campus Progress works hard to get student's voices and concerns heard by helping them with any issues they are having with an organization. Anything from getting a speaker for free and paying for their travel costs, helping getting the word out on campus about a new organization, or even putting together a rally. Student PIRGs work with a university campus to 'work to solve public interest problems related to the environment, consumer protection, and government reform.' And Forest Justice is a new organization that is working hard on innovative tactics in the fight against deforestation and its effects. In other words, I became highly energized in the first hour I was at Power Shift.

We then attended a special event called 'Awakening the Dreamer' which allowed us to reflect spiritually, visually, and on our connections with people and the world. It was a 4 hour symposium that explores the questions:

  • Where Are We? – an examination of the state of environmental, social and personal well-being
  • How did We Get Here? – tracing the root causes that lead to our current imbalance
  • What’s Possible for the Future? – discovering new ways of relating with each other, with the Earth and looking at the emerging Movement for change
  • Where Do We Go from Here? – considering the stand we want to be in the world and our personal and collective impact
from their website

Again, this was extremely powerful and if you are looking for something to repower you and find your roots in the activist community go to the website and look to see where one will be held near you (they hold them ALL over the world).

The night ended with keynote speaches from: Mojora Carter, Rocky Anderson, Lisa Jackson, Van Jones, Clayton Thomas-Muller, Billy Parish...and more And Santigold performed. Absolutely brilliant. Loads of screaming and cheering from a room of 12,000.

The next day started our panels and workshops. With 5 different sessions alloted. I wish there were more panel slots, but if there were we'd never have time to eat or sleep.

My 5 were:
-Go Green Without Greenwashing: Communicating a Winning Message on Climate Change (panel included Summer Rayne Oakes!)
-Healthier planet; healthier people - the dual fight for health care and climate change solutions
-Social Media for the Greener Good: from Twitter to Facebook, using the latest and greatest tools for your campaign on the social web (panel featured the creator of Facebook Causes)
-Take a Bite Out of Climate Change and Inequality: Your Plate, Fair Food and the Climate Crisis (was not happy that one student's idea of bridging the gap between all three was to have a 'Meet Your Meat' event where the club would drag a pig around their campus for 3 days, then roast it...actually it didn't just make me unhappy I was close to tears that so many people could think that was okay. I wanted to scream. I wanted to go up to her after the session and tell her that she was choosing not to bridge the gap, but to exploit an intelligent mammal and scare it literally to death, but she left the room way before I was able to. Completely disgusting)
-Agribusiness is Cooking the Climate--Intersections between the food we eat, how we grow it, and our climate (most definitely my favorite of all the panels. the panel told us that this was only planned 5 days before the event, which showed that even powershift organizers were not putting two and two together between large scale industries and global warming. One panelist completely focused on the meat/dairy/egg industry making me smile with glee that a room of 200 would be educated)

The night ended with more entertainment and keynote speakers...but I went to dinner at my cousin's house. She had her first child two days earlier. I got to be the first one from my side of the family to meet little James. He was so cute, yet I forgot to take any photos...my excuse is that I was holding him the entire time I saw him, so sleeping teeeny baby in my arms does not mesh well with trying to find my camera and take photos. But I will assure you he is a cutie.

Sunday we had the 4th and 5th panels and then 5 hours of meetings to get us prepared to meet with our Senators and Reps. After we had mock meetings, we got to meet with our own states and talk about issues in our states that matter and also to discuss our plan of action with our reps. It was really great to see how many kids from Wisconsin were there. Almost 40 of us! When the drive is almost 15 hours, this is a really good turn out. The states with the most were of course from the east coast. But every state in the US and every Canadian province and 12 other countries were represented this weekend.

Monday was our huge rally. We met on capital hill in inches of snow and blistering cold wind. I held a huge sign that spoke on issues of factory farming and grain production. Not really sure what it said though, I just saw a group that had animal rights related signs, and I quickly asked if I could hold one of them. It was actually for a TV channel online, Supreme Master TV. I got filmed a whole bunch, but not sure if I'll ever find it. Their site is quite confusing to me. But the rally was an amazing experience, no matter how frozen my toes were, or how sore my arms were from trying to hold up a heavy sign that was being gusted down.

Between the rally we went to 3 separate meetings. Two with Senators and one with a Congressman. What was so awesome is the Senators were very open to climate change legislation and wanted it to be as tough as possible on industries that are causing so much of our greenhouse gases. The last meeting, which I actually led (how cool!) was with a very conservative Representative, though he was still open to new technologies, but very worried with the few in his district that are worried about windmills and so on. It just goes to show that writing an email or letter to your state represenatives do not go to waste, they will read and take your voice into consideration. I know I have sent many, many letters to Obama (when he was my senator) and Durbin (who I have met with a few years ago). The greatest part of lobbying is the fact that they will almost always send you a detailed response back. Most likely not personally from the rep, but the fact that the office takes the time to reply back with past actions and what they plan to do in the future is exciting. Never hesitate to have your voice heard!

So all in all, my experience was amazing. We did a lot of walking and climbed a lot of steps, got lost a few times, were completely crushed by the shear amount of people in one place, and were exhausted...but I am so fucking happy I got to participate.

Power Shift 2010?

Fried Noodles and Tofu & Sesame Ginger Cabbage

I am almost caught up, just 5 more entries and I will be at the dinner I had a few nights ago. Go me. At since I am extremely worried for an exam, to the point I get so upset when I look at the material, here I am!

If you can tell, I love asian-inspired foods. However unauthentic it is, I want a piece of it. I probably have at least 2 or 3 meals a week that are from the East. A few months back, the week was no exception.

This Vegan Dad recipe was for Fried Noodles and Tofu. With fried right in the title, we all know this ain't a healthy night. Sometimes I just am so exhausted and stressed that I need to induldge my ever so grease-loving side. I thought this would be the perfect meal to satisfy that, while still being somewhat healthy. So I wouldn't have to cook extra veggies or side dish, I added some veggies that I had on hand, which were few (carrots, celery, scallions, and onion). This was a perfect noodle dish, with crispy vegetables and tofu and a sauce that was not overpowering or too heavy, especially since it came from a bottle, which I normally don't do, but lazy days call for it. I gulped this up in high quantities. Very delicious and highly recommend for anyone who wants to put aside being uber healthy just for one meal.

Since I never use a full package of tofu, after the left-overs of my noodles were gone, I wanted to use that tofu right up. I looked at my list of starred recipes from my google reader and found Veg Bitch's Sesame and Ginger Cabbage. I remember when I first read her blog entry for that day, my mouth was salivating from just seeing the words sesame and cabbage together. We all know my love affair for cabbage by now. I loved that the tofu was crushed to pieces before it was cooked, I guess I never really thought of doing that. Goes to show that my creativity for cooking is still yet to come. This method assured that every bite would be equal in tofu and veggies. The recipe itself is quite simple with just sesame oil, ginger, garlic, and a little soy sauce for the sauce. And carrots, onion, the cabbage. I cooked a giant portion of cabbage and ate it without any starch. It was absolutely perfect meal. I had a study group to go to 5 mins after I finished cooking, I only realized after I had put it on a plate, so I quickly pulled out tupperwear and brought my meal with me to my study group. Boy oh boy, the kids I met with were completely infatuated with my meal and couldn't believe how simple it was to make. I have a feeling most kids who live off-campus eat macaronni, ramen, canned soup, and frozen meals...ew? I don't mind canned soup and every so often I will pull out an Amy's frozen dinner or burrito (my favorites: Mattar Tofu, Black Bean Enchilada, and Black Bean Tamale Verde). But I'd never eat those every single day. I'm so happy that I take the time to make slow food from real food.

Well enough procrastinating. It has lasted now almost 3 hours...oops? Off to learn about Ampere's and Faraday's Laws. boo