My blog has moved!

You should be automatically redirected in 6 seconds. If not, visit
and update your bookmarks.


See me morph into action at the Green Phone Booth

the flock

follow me on twitter

follow me on facebook

Friday, October 31, 2008

Distress Signal.

The planet is in distress and I have been summoned. I will be joining the ranks of other eco-superhero women in the Green Phone Booth. See me morph into action as EnviRambo!

Sentinel of all Earth inhabitants.

Has the power to nourish unsuspecting junkies;

Is able to transport armloads without a plastic bag;

Can cut power consumption in half;

Has a wrench and knows how to use it!

I will be posting there every Friday. Go check it out. Go, now! What are you still doing here? Gheesh!

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Weather the Storm

Sadly it is that time of year again. Time to batten down the hatches, button up the house, and put the storm windows on. All of our house has new double pane windows, except for the solarium. Sixteen 107 year old leaded glass windows and no insulation. You bet your bottom it gets darn right cold in there. The windows have started to bow and warp and are anything but air tight. You can actually see outside on some of them! And I am not talking through the glass either. When it rains hard with a lot of wind, water comes in. Ah, but they are beautiful, add charm and are part of what appealed to me when we purchased the house.

Looking out without the storm windows on.

So, every fall I pull the storm windows out of the shed, drag out the ladder, prepare my bucket of water and vinegar and get to work. The outer windows only get washed twice a year; when the storm windows go on and again in the spring when they come off. I am lazy when it comes to this task, but not so lazy that I want to spend the next seven months looking through dirt and bird poop.

Heat loss through windows accounts for 10 to 25 percent of your home heating bill.[1] Windows are a major source of escaping heat since they provide a poor thermal barrier, with an R factor of only .89. They are also often not well sealed and let cold air in. Adding storm windows greatly improves both of these situations.[2]

Looking out with the storm windows on.

This window assembly—the single-pane window plus the storm window—has an R factor of 1.79, which is actually more energy-efficient than a double-paned window assembly that has an air space up to half an inch (and an R factor of only 1.72).[2] Your old storm windows may be more energy-efficient than you think!

If you don't have storm windows, an inexpensive option is to make your own storm windows by adding a clear vinyl film to the outside of your windows using a special tape designed for this purpose. This is a compromise, since vinyl is decidedly eco-unfriendly, but while you cannot recycle the tape, you can recycle the vinyl and use it next year.[3]

With & without storm window.

This side by side comparison was taken in the morning. The left window has an exterior storm installed; the right window does not. It is completely covered in condensation. All that moisture is on the inside. A darn good way to rot the wooden window frame!

While it is not a job I enjoy and the storms are mighty ugly to look at, I will continue to drag them out and put them up year after year. They conserve energy, reduce my heating bill, increase our comfort, preserve a historic aspect of our home, and add a creepy effect for Halloween!

  1. US Department of Energy - Tips on Saving Energy & Money at Home
  2. US National Park Service - Conserving Energy in Historic Buildings
  3. Energy Boomer - Easy Add On Storm Windows From The Outside

Monday, October 27, 2008

Make Do and Mend

Rob's World is running a Make Do and Mend Challenge. The rules are simple, instead of throwing something away fix it. Seems easy enough, right? Maybe 70 years ago. That is the way life was. Something broke, you fixed it. People did not run out and buy a replacement. They do now. What happened? Have we gotten so lazy as a society that we would trade basic life skills for convenience? Apparently so.

My grandparents repaired, mended, saved, reused, repurposed everything. My parents did not. Something was lost in translation between a generation. Without my parents practicing these basic skills I failed to learn them as well. Growing up in a disposable household I viewed my grandparent's ways as frugal and old fashioned. Instead I learned to be a consumer.

Make Do and Mend is definitely a challenge for me. As an adult with a family of my own I am just learning how to cook, sew, bake, garden, compost, save, sacrifice, be self-sufficient. I feel a bit as though I have been robbed of the fundamentals to survive. I can whip up a prepackaged meal from a box in minutes. Hole in you jeans? No problem. Lost a button? Forget about it. I know where we can get more. Fruits and vegetables come in plastic bags from the grocery store, don't they? Food waste, household waste, it is all waste. Throw it away! Save? Like money? Ha! I don't have enough to save any. And I am totally self-sufficient. I have a computer, car, cell phone, paycheck. I can get anything I need with those.

How is it that we take something so simple for granted? They do not teach this stuff in school folks! Please make sure your children have the skills they need in life. If they do not see you doing it, they may never learn. And their children will not learn and their children and so on. Break the cycle.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Massive chili plastic consumption.

Two weekends ago Hubby and I attended the annual D.A.R.E. Chili cook off. It was a gorgeous weekend during Historic Downtown Days. I had been stuck in the dungeon making centerpieces for the upcoming luncheon and needed to get out. After walking through the Farmer's Market and stopping at the Coop for a Switch soda we decided to make our way to the main event. It was such a beautiful day that I wanted to walk. Hubby grumbled about how far it was, but begrudgingly obliged.

By the time we arrived I was ready for the feast. We pay our entry, grab our ballots and small pencil that was provided and get in line. Bring it on! It is finally my turn. I get handed a small Styrofoam cup and plastic spoon for sampling. Bleh. I quickly gobbled up the first entry, not bad, and move on to the next. Okay, my turn again. I present my cup for filling, still licking the spoon from the last booth. The woman gives me a disgusted look and hands me a new cup containing their entry. *Blink* *Blink Blink* "No, I want to use the cup I already have." presenting it again in protest. "That's unsanitary." she says and plunks her cup into mine. The nerve! "No, that's wasteful!" I exclaim. "And I am not voting for you no matter how damn good your chili is!" I turn on my heel and the panic sets in.

Looking around at the 30 plus booths, hundreds of people, and all those Styrofoam cups and plastic spoons my mental calculator starts clicking. And clicking. And clicking! Everywhere I look more and more. People have them stacked one on top of another, some ten high. Carrying them like a badge of honor. The world starts spinning, I think I am going to be sick. Gasping for air I lean over a trash can. It is filled with little white cups! AAaaaAAaaaHhhH!! I am in Hell!

Proceeds from the event benefit local D.A.R.E. and G.R.E.A.T. programs which teach kids the dangers of drugs and gangs. Next year marks the 20th anniversary of the D.A.R.E. program in La Crosse and police officers say it's making an impact on more than just kids.

...and police officers say it's making an impact on more than just kids. I think that is worth repeating. Oh wait, I just did. You bet it is. It was estimated by the number of ballots cast that over 1,000 people attended. There were 32 chili entries. If each person took a new cup at every booth and sampled all 32 entries, they burned through 32,000 Styrofoam cups in two hours! That makes me want to cry. It gets worse. It was a hot day eating hot chili. One is bound to get thirsty. What do they have? Bottled water. Or, bottled soda. Plastic bottled soda. Just shoot me, please.

Now I am walking around with my empty glass Switch bottle, a plastic water bottle Argh!, two Styrofoam cups, and a plastic spoon. Aha! I spot someone emptying the trash cans. "Excuse me, do you have a place I can recycle these?" "No. We don't do that." Oh, bother. Is it not ridiculous that a city of 50,000 plus does not, I repeat DOES NOT, recycle plastic? WTF?! I feel I may need to borrow the cape of one of those eco-heroes over in the Green Phone Booth and address this issue.

Thankfully, only the one booth refused to fill the cup I already had. I got grief from a few and weird looks from them all, but they accommodated me. If they put up too much of a fuss, I refused to sample their chili unless they put it in my cup. A few even got it. "Aaahhh, trying to be green today, I get it." I heard Hubby snort in the background, "Today? Everyday with this one!" Well, at least he is starting to get it.

I will be sending a letter to the event chair and would like to give them a list of environmentally friendly options. Got any? In a perfect world which only exists in my head everyone would bring their own container and utensil along with a reusable bottle. The event could provide large containers of free water to fill from. Aah. Heaven.

Speaking of Heaven. I will leave you with the winning chili recipe provided by The People's Food Co-op.
White Bean Chicken Chili
INGREDIENTS (serves 4 to 6)
2 tablespoons canola oil
1 large onion, chopped
4 large garlic cloves, chopped
1 tablespoon ground cumin
1 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon chopped dried chipotle pepper
1 pound boneless chicken thighs, cut into 1-inch pieces
3 15-ounce cans cannelloni beans
1 cup chicken broth
1 7-ounce can diced mild green chiles
1/2 cup whipping cream
1 jar green salsa or tomatillo salsa (optional)
Chopped fresh cilantro (optional)
Cheddar cheese (optional)
Salt and pepper to taste


1. Heat oil in a Dutch oven over medium heat. Add onion, garlic, cumin, oregano and dried chipotles. Saute 5 minutes. Push onion mixture to one side of pan.
2. Season chicken with salt and pepper and add to empty side of pan. Saute chicken 4-5 minutes until it is lightly golden.
3. Drain beans. Add beans, broth, chilies and whipping cream to pot. Simmer until chicken is tender and cooked all the way through, about 10 minutes.
4. Season to taste with salt and pepper.
5. Top with green or tomatillo salsa, cilantro, cheddar cheese or more chilies.

Monday, October 20, 2008

I Need a Staycation.

Whew! The past two weeks have been manic! Where has the time gone? It started with an energy audit; followed by a parade of contractors; multiple unscheduled trips to the dentist; meetings, meetings and more meetings; massive chili consumption; two days of floral arranging; lunch with a celebrity's wife; a good ass chewing over the phone; cooking a week's worth of meals in three hours; sewing stripes on Air Force blues until one in the morning; a worthless hour spent in the VW service lounge only to be told to come back next week; and last but not least a trip to the hospital to have the embedded head of a tick removed from my side.
Party on Wayne. Party on Garth.

Mavis Leno

Speaking of party. Now I get to spend the next two weeks planning a teenage Halloween party and figuring out what to feed 70 of them for dinner. Ugh.

Would someone please press pause? I need to catch my breath. Oh balls, now what? My yard is being invaded by trucks and men. Hold on.....

Okay, it appears that the gas company has chosen today to dig a big giant hole in my yard and leave. They left a bag of tools behind so hopefully it means they will be back. With the way the last two weeks have gone I am not holding my breath. The conclusion of the energy audit was to replace our old fuel oil furnace with a new high efficiency gas furnace. According to his calculations we will save 40% on our energy bill and nearly recoup the cost of the furnace in one season. Wow! So We Energy is working on running the pipeline and installing a gas meter. Well, at least they were working. As suddenly as they came, they left. poof! Gone.

Oddly enough, my money plays the same game. One minute it is here. The next, poof! gone; leaving a big giant hole in my pocket. So far the furnace proposals range from $2,800.00 to $5,193.00. I have asked for numbers on tankless gas water heaters, too. $1,599.00 to $2,500.00. I am not sure we are ready to go that route. I would like to look into solar water heaters as well. Any of you have experience with either type? Good, bad or ugly?

Other musings from the last two weeks; eating 30 different types of chili in one hour is not good for you stomach, mixing hot syrup in granola containing chocolate chips does not make chocolate chip granola bars - it makes chocolate granola bars, line drying your clothes outside means you could have ticks in your pajamas, and setting your oven on warm with a loaf of bread inside for the final proof and then forgetting to turn the heat off makes a very flat chewy loaf of bread.


Thursday, October 9, 2008

Thrifty Green Thursday

How to Grow

The air inside your home may be up to 10 times polluted as the air outside. Considering we spend 65% of our time in our homes and up to 90% of time indoors all together, the quality of air we breathe is something to think about.

Pollutants enter our homes in a variety of ways. Attached garages can bring automobile exhaust inside. We track pesticides and other chemicals in on the bottom of our shoes. Heavily scented laundry products waft toxic chemicals. Gas cooking appliances vent carbon monoxide. A Teflon treated non-stick pan overheated on the stove releases PFOA/PTFE's. Automatic dishwasher detergent containing chlorine combines with heat to create dioxin, a probable human carcinogen. The paint on our walls off gas VOC's. Cleaning supplies and personal care products we use host hoards of dangerous chemicals. Dry cleaning hanging in the closet discharges PERC. Burning candles/incense and air fresheners do more than scent the air we breathe. The furniture we sit on and the mattress we sleep on are laden with flame retardants containing PBDE. We surround ourselves with a lengthy list.

One way to combat the constant barrage of self inflicted pollution is by adding a little green to your household. Green plants that is. Plants influence air quality within a personal breathing zone of 6 to 8 cu. ft. In 1980 NASA's John C. Stennis Space Center first discovered that houseplants could remove VOCs from sealed test chambers. Houseplants are effective in removing Acetone, Methyl alcohol, Ethyl acetate, Benzene, Ammonia, Trichloroethylene, Formaldehyde and Xylene as well as bioeffluents. Plants also release phytochemicals that suppress mold spores and bacteria found in air. Research shows that plant filled rooms contain 50 to 60 percent fewer airborne molds and bacteria than rooms without plants.

According to the book How to Grow Fresh Air, 50 Houseplants that Purify Your Home or Office by Dr. B.C. Wolverton here are a few of the top rated plants.

Areca Palm (Chrysalidocarpus lutescens) rated 8.5 out of 10
Lady Palm (Rhapis excelsa) - 8.5
Bamboo Palm (Chamaedorea seifrizii) - 8.4
*All require semi-sun & 65-75 degree home temperature. The two palms pictures above are of my 8 foot tree.

Rubber Plant (Ficus robusta) - 8.0
*Semi-sun to semi-shade & 60-80 degrees. Especially effective at removing formaldehyde. It is the taller plant on right side table top, deep green/burgundy leaves.

Dracena "Janet Craig" (Dracena deremensis "Janet Craig") - 7.8
*Semi-shade; will tolerate dimly lit areas, but growth will be slow. 60-75 degrees.
It is one of the best plants for removing trichloroethylene.
Little plant pictured above to the right of the rubber plant.

English Ivy (Hedera helix) - 7.8
*Semi-sun to semi-shade. Day: 60-70 degrees; night: 50-60 degrees.

Boston Fern (Nephrolepis exaltata "Bostoniensis") - 7.5
*Semi-sun. Day: 65-75 degrees; night: 50-65 degrees.
It is the best for removing air pollutants, especially formaldehyde, and for adding humidity to the indoor environment. Shown above on left table top, back side.

Peace Lily (Spathiphyllum sp.) - 7.5
*Semi-sun to semi-shade. Day: 60-75 degrees; night: 55-68 degrees.
The peace lily excels in removal of all alcohols, acetone, trichloroethylene, benzene and formaldehyde.

Golden Pothos (Epipremnum aureum) - 7.5
*Semi-shade to shade & 65-75 degrees.
This plant is damn near indestructible! It can withstand severe neglect. Great for those with black thumbs!

Spider Plant (Chlorophytum comosum) - 5.4
*Semi-sun to semi-shade. Day: 65-75 degrees; night: 55-65 degrees. Again, a good plant for the growing challenged. (Shown further down.) I have had this one since I moved to college over 14 years ago. It has survived drought, famine, no sun, all sun. Hell, it even froze a time or two! Very hardy.

Green plants are a fairly inexpensive addition to your home. Plus, they are an easy way to decorate.

They also serve more than an ornamental purpose.

Herbs in a sunny window provide a kick to your cooking.

Flowering plants provide color and hope during the long winter months.

Aloe vera soothes sunburn and minor cuts.

Many plants can be easily propagated from cuttings. Perhaps a friend or relative would give you a leaf or small cutting to start your own plant. Or, maybe you have some to share. Leaves from African Violets can be broke off, stuck in dirt and will grown into a new plant.

Jade cuttings can be placed in water until roots form and then planted.

The off shoots of Spider plants are easily rooted to transform into their own plants as well.

Consider adding a plant to the areas you hang out in the most. Next to the couch, on your computer desk, near your bed, in the kitchen. No room is off limits, think bioeffluents!

Plants are cheap or free if you use cuttings. They improve the air quality, comfort and overall aesthetic of your home. They are quiet and require no electricity.

How pure is the air you breathe?

Monday, October 6, 2008

Crimson Tide

This time of year apples are not the only red fruit flooding my kitchen. Cranberries should be flowing into your markets throughout the next few months. In Wisconsin cranberries are big business. Wisconsin produces more cranberries than any other state in the nation and produces more than half of the entire world's supply of the berry. We have entire festivals devoted to the bouncing berry. Since these are super super simple to preserve I brought home a five pound box this year.

Cranberries require no special preparation. Simply remove any stems or leaves. DO NOT WASH! Fill container of your choice and transfer to freezer. That's it, done! If you buy in bulk like I did, 2 1/2 to 3 cups equals about 12 ounces of berries. If your berries are already packaged, just throw the whole thing in the freezer. Thaw and wash prior to using in recipes.

A few of my favorites:


2 1/2 cups raw cranberries
1/2 cup brown sugar
1/2 cup chopped walnuts
2-3 Tbsp. melted butter
1 cup white sugar
2 eggs
2/3 cup butter melted
1 cup flour

Put cranberries in an unbaked 9-inch pie shell.
Mis brown sugar, walnuts, and butter together.
Sprinkle over cranberries.

Beat topping ingredients together to blend well.
Pour over cranberry mixture.

Bake for 45 minutes at 350 degrees, or until golden brown.
Do not over bake!

  • 2 cups washed raw cranberries
  • 2 skinned and cored apples
  • 1 large, whole (peel on) seedless orange, cut into sections
  • 2 cups granulated sugar
1. Set up grinder with a medium-sized blade on the edge of a table with a large roasting pan or bowl to catch the mix as it grinds. These old fashioned grinders tend to leak some juice down the grinder base, so you may want to set up an additional pan on the floor under the grinder to catch the drips. If you do not have an old-fashioned grinder you can use a grinder attachment on a KitchenAid mixer, you can chop by hand (though that will take a lot of work), or you can chop in a food processor (be very careful not to over-pulse, or you will end up with mush).

2. Run fruit through a grinder. Use the entire (seedless) orange, peels, pith and all.

3. Mix in the sugar. Let sit at room temperature until sugar dissolves, about 45 minutes. Store in the refrigerator.

Makes about 3 cups.

2 cups flour (plus 1/4 cup for kneading dough)
1 tablespoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/4 butter
1/4 cup sugar
2 eggs
1/2 cup plus 2 tablespoons heavy cream
1 tablespoon grated orange zest
1 cup cranberries
1/4 cup sugar

1. Set the oven rack in the middle position. Preheat the oven to 425 degrees. Cover a 14-inch by 16-inch baking sheet with foil, shiny side up. Coat the foil with vegetable spray.

2. Sift together flour, baking powder, salt, and cinnamon.

3. Cream butter and sugar in a medium bowl. Combine eggs and 1/2 cup of the heavy cream and add to butter mixture. Add grated orange zest. Add sifted dry ingredients and stir until a soft dough begins to form. Incorporate berries into dough with your fingers.

4. Place dough on a generously floured surface. Knead gently five times, turning corners of dough toward the center. Pat dough into a 1/2-inch thick circle. Using a floured knife, cut dough into 12 equal wedges. Using a floured wide spatula, transfer each wedge to baking sheet. Brush wedges with the remaining heavy cream and sprinkle with sugar. Bake 12 to 15 minutes, or until tops of scones are lightly brown and bottoms are golden brown. Place baking sheet on a rack and cool about 10 minutes. Serve scones warm with butter and jam. They are best when eaten the day they are made.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Thrifty Green Thursday

Living on the Edge.

Back in August, Burbanmom threw out the idea of more eco-friendly hair removal. I have been thinking about it heavily since then. I am a long time consumer of disposable razors. Well, disposable razor heads anyway. I have been using the Venus Divine for several years now. The replacement blades cost anywhere from $2.50 to $3.50 a piece! At that price I try to go as long as possible before changing blades. Shaving daily, I will go a month or more before switching, usually resulting in a nick or two and afflictive razor burn. One of Burbanmom's alternatives resonated with me. The safety razor. After reading many, many reader's comments, discussions with my husband, Q&A with my Father-in-law, thorough internet research and running out of Venus refills it was time.

I purchased the Weishi Double Edge Safety Razor Starter Kit from RetroRazor off Amazon. I selected this particular razor because it specifically stated it was for beginners. I have been shaving for years, so I am not really a beginner, but was extremely nervous about using the safety razor and wanted to play it safe. The kit cost $25.99 included the razor, three 5 pack blade samplers, a cleaning brush and info sheet packaged in a muslin bag.

Two of the sampler packs were packaged in plastic and the plastic cleaning brush is pretty much worthless to me. Also, Amazon felt the need to include plastic air bags in the box to prevent breakage I suppose. It's metal, it's not going to break. Ugh. Nevertheless, the overall impact of not throwing plastic razor heads in the trash every month will outweigh these indiscretions.

It looks like I can get 100 replacement blades for around 14 cents a piece. Assuming I will use them at the same rate as previous disposables, one a month, I will save $236-$336 and not have to buy blades again for eight years! Even if I start changing blades sooner to forgo the razor burn, at 14 cents a piece it is still a significant savings.

I have been using my safety razor for a week now without incident. Hubby had me so damn nervous I thought I was going to slice an artery and die! It is not that big a deal. If you do manage to cut yourself and bleed to death, at least you are in the shower and will not make a mess. Kidding! Truthfully, the knees were a bit tricky at first, but I think I have got that down now. I nicked the back of my ankle once, but would have had the same result with a disposable. I started out really slow because I was so nervous, but have gradually picked up speed. Once you get the angle figured out it is no different than what you are doing now. Oh! An added benefit is the head does not fly off when you drop it. I hate that! Just keep it away from the toes, because it is heavy! My shaving lube of choice has been and still is Dr. Bronner's liquid castille. I use it as a body wash, shampoo, and shave gel. My Co-op carries it in bulk. Works great!

Try living on the edge - Double Safety Edge!

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Close Encounters with Barack Obama

Today Barack Obama visited my town. The Secret Service moved in two days ago. The entire downtown has been a zoo. An estimated 15,000 people came out to see him speak. It was a cold brisk morning that buzzed with excitement. He gave a good speech that was well suited to the audience. Addressing the middle class, Main Street America - which he was damn near standing on, students - the town has three colleges, teachers and standardized testing - this is a hot issue here right now, and those struggling and working hard just to get by - our area has been hit hard with flooding. He walked amongst the crowd and made an effort to shake as many hands possible, before the secret service swooped in that is.

Close encounters with Barack in La Crosse

The morning workout

When a couple of security men walked into Premier Fitness at 505 King St. late Tuesday, co-owner John Johnson handed out a few free passes.
No one knew one would be for Sen. Barack Obama.

The Democratic presidential nominee walked into the gym about 8 a.m. and worked out for 30 minutes each on a stationary bike and elliptical machine while other members were at the gym, said co-owner Sally Johnson.

“He was moving his lips and shuffling papers, so I’m assuming he was practicing his speech,” Sally Johnson said.

After his workout, Obama stopped to talk to the Johnsons’ two daughters and discussed his own family before leaving shortly after 9 a.m.

“It was just neat,” Sally Johnson said. “He was friendly and gracious.”

— Anne Jungen /

Doing his makeup for Rolling Stone

Suzette Everson, owner of Studio 411 hair salon in La Crosse, put the finishing makeup touches on Obama before his photo shoot with Rolling Stone magazine after his rally in La Crosse.

Everson said she was asked by the magazine to apply some makeup before photos were taken of Obama in the board room of the La Crosse Center. She said she was told the photo was for a magazine cover shot.

“This was the biggest thing in my life right now,” she said. “It was really an honor to do this for the next possible president of the United States.”

Everson received a press pass for the rally and was escorted to the room after the rally, where she waited for 45 minutes. She said she shook Obama’s hand and applied a little makeup. Obama also changed his tie for the 10-minute photo shoot.

“He has nice skin and a beautiful smile,” Everson said.

Everson said she received a call Tuesday from someone with the magazine. “I thought they were kidding me, but it was for real, and I was ecstatic.”

— Terry Rindfleisch /

‘Soda jerk’ gets a handshake

When Seth Schure arrived at work Wednesday at The Pearl Ice Cream Parlor, he knew it would not be like his previous shifts behind the counter.

The day before, the self-described soda jerk got to shake hands with the Democratic nominee for president.

During Schure’s Tuesday evening shift, he noticed some commotion through the windows of the ice cream shop, and with a bit of hustle was able to get outside to see Obama step out of his vehicle.

Schure said he was one of only five or six people to get close to Obama before the Illinois senator ducked inside the Pearl Street entrance of the Holiday Inn Hotel & Suites.

On Wednesday, Schure said, chilly customers kept him and others at The Pearl busy with coffee orders. But once Obama started talking, things changed.

“During the whole speech, not one person came in,” Schure said.

— Scott Rada /

Business owners felt increase in security

As a citizen, Carla Callies had a front row seat to a historic moment Wednesday in downtown La Crosse.

As a business owner, she was considering not even opening up her shop, Ambiance at 115 S. Second St., because she doubted anyone would be shopping.

“I can’t open any windows in my building,” she said, on orders from the security detail.

“My parking lot’s been blocked for two days. I have not had any access for two days.”

“It’s a crazy zoo out here,” she said at 8:30 a.m. “You can’t believe what I’m seeing. People are just pouring in.”

Michelle Peterslie, who owns the buildings along the west side of Pearl Street with her husband, TJ, said they, too, felt the increase in security.

Earlier this week, Secret Service officers asked them to close the curtains on the third floor of their buildings to conceal the mannequins that normally keep watch over Pearl Street. The agents didn’t want them to be a distraction for security personnel.

— Scott Rada /

I left inspired and hopeful. Upon returning home I did two loads of laundry in cold water, hung them out on the line to dry, raked some leaves to add to my compost pile, gathered some tomatoes from my garden, road my bike to the Farmer's market, mended my daughter's backpack, called for estimates on a new furnace, pulled the storm windows out of storage for winter's prep, baked apple crisp and prepared a homemade meal for my family.
Do you suppose anyone in Washington is doing this?