Thursday, May 24, 2012

meet guinness

What: Female African pygmy hedgehog
Full name: Guinness Harriet Martin Cliffe, after Harriet the Spy, because of the way she tilts her head and looks at us out of one eye
Aliases: GP (for Guin-nea Pig), Huffy Hufferton, Tubby Tubberton, Bubby, Bubbers and Bubberton
Coloring: Pinto (same as the horse; she has a few pure-white patches on her sides) with a white furry tummy
Namesake: Most of her quills (which don't come out like a porcupine's) look like the stout; dark brown on the bottom and white on top
Length: 7-1/2 in. (when we got her, she was about 5 in.)
Weight: 1 lb., 1 oz. (when we got her, she was about 7 oz.)
Birthday: September 21, 2011 (thank you, Earth Wind & Fire)
Gotcha day: November 14, 2011, just outside State Fair Park (from a breeder whose husband wanted to go to the train show)
Home: A two-level cage with a ramp that Ian made; her food is at the top and she is really good at using the ramp, unless it is blocked, at which point, she flops down to the first floor
Modus: Being afraid of everything
Life goal: Being brave
Feels like: When she's calm, her quills lie flat on her back and feel like rice; when she's upset, her quills stand straight up and are quite sharp -- and her tummy is very soft, if she lets you touch it
Eats: Dry and wet kitten food, mealworms, green beans, corn, carrots and shortbread cookies
Likes: Digging, climbing, burrowing, snuggling, playing outside (under strict supervision), sleeping in her special blanket, huffing at frightening sights and sounds, exploring the world with a toilet paper tube on her head, playing catch with Ian (she is the ball), cigarette butts, meeting new people
Dislikes: Apples, being tickled, getting her picture taken (especially for holidays), sitting still, her ball, leashes, meeting new people

I've obviously been sitting on this post since November, for absolutely no good reason at all. But even though it's very, very old by Web standards, it still deserves to be read.

Want to know anything else about our little hog?

Sunday, May 6, 2012

craving a good sandwich

Doesn't everyone? So, when my friend Sarah invited me to check out The Loaded Slate, I accepted. It's in a cute old building on Milwaukee's Old World Third Street, now dwarfed by the under-construction Moderne. Inside, baseball and soccer were on the TVs, a couple motor scooters were leaned against walls and all the guys were nursing Bloody Marys -- it's a bro bar. True to the name, chalkboards were scattered about the place, depicting everything from drink specials to whom to call for a good time (that one was in the bathroom -- pretty sure someone on the staff would have picked up if you called it). 
The tables had a chalkboard-painted board in the center, surrounded by a trough for chalk. Very clever. And much, much cleaner and less dusty than I'd expected. Thank goodness. A little background: I was nervous to come here because I hate chalk. When I am in a serious situation and for some reason, start to get the giggles, I think of chewing a piece of chalk to keep myself from laughing. Gross? Maybe. But it works.
Anyway, the beer list was pretty good, our server was very attentive, but the food was just OK. (And I think Sarah and I were both horrified by the caddy of plastic silverware at our table.) My server-recommended Slamberry sandwich sounded promising, especially the cranberry mustard sauce, and I was excited for the tater tots, which I haven't eaten in years. I took my first bite and discovered unseasoned chicken, a centimeter-thick layer of raw spinach, and greasy cheese. No cranberry mustard. I did request an extra ramekin of it from our server, and that helped, but it was not enough to redeem the sandwich. I didn't try Sarah's burger, but we could smell Cheez Whiz before the plate even arrived at the table.
Needless to say, I won't be at The Loaded Slate anytime soon. Or ever. But if Smirnoff bombs and College Night are your thing, you won't be disappointed.

This visit has made another Milwaukee sandwich spot shine even more brightly: Melthouse Bistro. Sarah, our friend Tiffany, and I went there a few months ago for an event co-sponsored by the Wisconsin Cheese Board and I've been back a few times since. Melthouse Bistro's goal is to serve as any locally grown and sourced products as possible (everything from cheese to produce to wine), and as its name suggests, it serves finger-lickin' good grilled cheese sandwiches. I had bites of several at the event and enjoyed all, though I think my favorite was The Heartland. I worked with the owners for a project I was doing at Reader's Digest, and they are wonderful, generous people who really believe in their mission. And so do I! Go.

Have you had an amazing sandwich lately?