Saturday, July 3, 2010

Getting to Know...rcakewalk.

If you read this post, from Brooke at Pure and Noble, the paragraph preceding the getting to know Brooke part pretty much sums up what I think about chain emails and blog awards and the like... but I figure I'll play along since she tagged me, and I didn't have anything else planned to share until Vegan Monday rolls around. Normally, I'm a keep to myself type - always ready for a chat, but not always up to going up to you and starting the conversation. Of course, once I get going, it is a whole different story... So without further delay, on to a non-food related getting-to-know-your-author post!

Just a few things you may or may not have known about me, rcakewalk.

3 names I go by:
  • rebecca
  • RE-Becca (my Husband usually calls me this - or 'Hon' - )
  • rcakewalk (Rcakewalk, RCakeWalk)
3 places I have been:
  • Croatia. Pretty much the whole country, thanks to my best friend, Sasa. I spent 6 weeks there in the summer of 1997, and now can not even believe that much time has passed. We saw the cities, rural countrysides, most of the Adriatic by boat. I ate cheese in every town I could, since it was so good. As far as the European Experience goes for a poor-ish college age kid, Croatia was just about perfect. It is gorgeous, packed with history, and compact enough to get to know. I hope that I will go back. I could see myself living there.

Zagreb, Croatia.
  • California. I have deep California envy, it is true. I was only there once, for my honeymoon - where I felt old-fashioned to be actually taking a honeymoon, and happy to be off being newly married in a strange warm state for a whole week during the bleak Wisconsin winter. We flew into Los Angeles, drove down to San Diego, then worked our way up to San Francisco. We were married in February, and California gave us warm weather and sun during a record-breaking year for rain and mudslides there. It was so green and gorgeous that I felt like I never wanted to come home to Wisconsin. Everything was growing in February! Why the whole country doesn't want to relocate, I have no idea. Well, those pesky earthquakes... that could do it.

I was amazed at the wildness of California, even minutes outside of the LA freeway.

  • I-90 West from LaCrosse, WI to Red Lodge Montana - on a motorcycle. My Dad is the greatest. Since I began my working life at the age of 17, I was never without work (excepting the summer in Croatia, and a brief 3 month stint where I couldn't find work). I usually had more than one job, or a job that was like working two jobs - that's just how I worked. Generally I like to work, and now that I'm not "technically employed", I still go morning to night with self-created tasks.

My Dad, looking over Dead Indian Pass, Wyoming.

In 2003, my Dad asked if I'd like to take some vacation time and go out West. For 10 days. I don't think I had ever been off from a job for a whole 10 days since high school - and it was amazing. About 3 days in, I remember telling my Dad that this was the greatest feeling, not going to work and seeing all there was to see. He said, 3 days was nothing! Wait until I got a week in! He was right. I was hot and blistered in 109 degree South Dakota summer heat. I felt like I had been through something, experiencing the elements and dirty with road grime.

Wanderlust ensued like never before. I never wanted to come back to my life at work, or my life in the Midwest. I wanted to stay out West and become a cowboy. I began to fantasize about getting my own cycle - a Triumph - and was not going to be deterred that I really didn't know how to ride. (My brother tried teaching me to ride a dirt bike once, but I couldn't figure out the break, resulting in going fairly fast and then crashing into the field... not the best thing for road riding.)

We spent some time in Cody, Wyoming. I cried reading a letter in a museum that Buffalo Bill wrote to his wife after one of their children died. I saw a carved wooden prototype of a Colt revolver. I marveled at an actual Chuck Wagon that was made in Wisconsin, traveled west and then landed in a museum 150 years later. We stayed at The Pawnee Motel that had very little air conditioning coming into our room through the transom to the hallway. I washed dirt off my face in the little sink in the corner of the bedroom. I went to a rodeo. When I thought it couldn't get any better, we headed deeper west, through Yellowstone, over the Bear Tooth Pass and into Montana. We stopped to get gas in a tiny town that was nestled at the base of a great, green mountain, and the doors were all open. It was a quiet, like I had never heard, and I was in a constant state of disbelief at the amazingness of our nation.


On the way back home, I was affected at the Crazy Horse and Rushmore monuments, and at the tiny Akta Lakota museum in Chamberlian, SD. I could see history unraveling before me, and I was sad. I had the time of my life. I dozed on the back of the bike, exhausted, and dreamed that I was falling off the cycle. My Dad felt me jolt awake and asked me what I was doing, shouting over the wind. I could see the whole of the wide open Interstate over the top of his helmet, and it was a view I became even more addicted to.

As you can probably tell, these Western dreams have not dimmed at all in all the time I haven't been back. I doubt I'll go again on a motorcycle, but I now have updated dreams of going West in an old car, a classic with no air conditioning and all of the windows rolled down. A Roadrunner, or Impala, a Cutlass - would be just perfect.

3 favorite drinks:
  • coffee. Alterra. Enough said.
  • fresh lemon or limeade (half a citrus, squeezed into a cocktail shaker with a pinch of stevia, a handful of ice, and topped with water)
  • 2 oz. Sapphire martini, 3 olives, shaken very well (everything in moderation...)
3 jobs I have had:

My resume reads like a small town novel. I have had jobs and side jobs, second jobs and no job (after September 11th, when I quit a job I couldn't stand, and on the 2nd day of it, mind you, and then no one anywhere was hiring.) Three from the past, no rhyme or reason, they just come to mind...
  • Subway, position: Sandwich Artist. This was my first job, in Viroqua, WI. I washed my hands so much that they nearly fell off. If someone could see me, I washed my hands again, even if I just washed them... and I don't think anyone ever cared or noticed. We opened a second store in Westby, 10 miles away, one of the firsts in the chain to open inside a gas station, and I was the "manager" of that one, keeping track of back deposits which I walked across the street, and scheduling. To this day, I have not eaten at a Subway.
  • Sweet Terra Organic Farm, position: laborer. I worked a whole season, from seed planting/greenhousing through kale in the mid-fall - dipping my arms up to my elbows in frigid water to wash it before bundling it for sale, then driving back home 5 miles in my '84 Buick LeSabre with the heat blasting to warm my tingling extremities...
  • Kinko's, position: Copy Specialist, then "promoted" to Office Manager. I liked working there, most of the time. I was a late second shift employee, and would usually leave work around 11:30 PM... I lived a night-based life. Around the same time, I worked a second job at the bakery we shared a parking lot with, and that was an early first shift - so I was completely sleepless for a while in 1998. Then, I quit the bread job, spent a day to myself listing to Cindy Lauper, She's So Unusual, on vinyl, and then eventually got moved to first shift. My second shift life became working at a small gourmet grocery who shall remain unnamed due to unscrupulous practices...
3 TV shows I watch:

I am not much of a TV watcher. I've pretty much given up the Food Network for good, with the odd viewing of Alton Brown or Iron Chef, since I prefer to read in online or paper print most of my food related interests. I DVR, and then let the recorder fill to almost full, then delete - even then it contains mostly movies that I occasionally watch while knitting. I do watch a show once in a while during the winter months, but every single time I do, it will be canceled. Examples?? (Note the science-fiction nature of my TV viewing.)
  • Journeyman. Time travel sci-fi drama about a San Franciscan man who inexplicably travels back and forth through time. It was a good plot, and not terrible acting, and was canceled after 1 season.
  • Life on Mars. Another sci-fi drama about a police detective from 2008 that wakes up in 1973. If you like mustaches, the one season of this should keep you entertained if only for Michael Imperioli's stash- even though the plots got weaker and the writing worse as the season wore on. There was a UK version of this that was highly acclaimed, but I've yet to see it. Maybe I'll rent it this winter.

How could you NOT want to see this mustache in action? His character fit the look, as well. (image from Yahoo!TV)
  • V. Though on summer hiatus, I'm DVRing this update to the loving alien conspiracy of my youth. I like it, a lot. I'm not ashamed. Meanwhile, I'm DVRing Warehouse 13 on SyFy Channel. I love Saul Rubinek. I love campy, goofy rom/com/dramas about supernatural goings on. It also boasts not-so-good special effects. I'm sold!
3 places I would love to visit:

I think if given the opportunity, this list could be endless. Three gigantic cities that I'd love to go and eat in would be:
  • Mexico City
  • Tokyo
  • Rome
3 favorite retro TV shows:
  • Bewitched. (And my favorite quote from Wayne's World: "Dick Sargent, Dick York, Sargent York?!") I really did watch this as part of my after school regimen when I lived in the great Northwoods... I've probably seen every single episode.
  • WKRP in Cincinatti. (This was also on after school when I lived up north. I'd like to rent them now and see if Dr. Johnny Fever is as cool as I used to think he was. It's probably a case of the Fonz, and I should just remember them as I used to think and not as I'd see them now.)
  • Punky Brewster. I was Punky for Halloween in 1984, and it was the best costume ever. I adorned myself with several bandannas, and rolled up one of my jean legs.
3 places I have lived:
  • Minocqua, WI
  • Wilton, WI
  • Fountain City, WI

Me, E and Sasa, outside the Square Pie, Wilton Wisconsin circa 2000.

3 favorite dishes:

This one requires some thinking. The way I've morphed into cooking lately is that I make things usually once. There are of course some things that I live for each summer, after the produce starts rolling in abundantly, so I'll list them here -
  • Marcella Hazan's recipe for eggplant. The flesh is cut and stuffed with garlic, then pan fried until it's soft. Topped with garden tomatoes, basil, fresh mozzarella and breadcrumbs, it's baked until absolutely soft and delicious. I make this several times per summer, usually with small eggplants.
  • Fish cooked in parchment or foil. Any type of fish and any number or variants in the way of flavors or vegetables will work, but my favorite is a mild white fish like tilapia or orange roughy, olive oil, lemon and a bit of butter, a few sprigs of basil and a handful of olives and cherry tomatoes. Bake at 450 degrees for about 10 minutes (longer for a thicker cut), and the fish is perfect and flaky, ready to serve with salad, rice, pasta or anything else - even just a good slice of bread and a glass of red wine.
  • Tacos. Any kind, usually with fresh from the garden salsa - the hotter the better. Could be corn tortillas, or black bean tortillas, or even these hard nixtamal corn tostadas from Sanissimo in a pinch. A pot of beans, some eggs or meat, or just tomatoes and cheese and unearthly amounts of cilantro, and I could eat for weeks on end.
3 things I am looking forward to:
  • Boy-O growing out of picky-eating and going out for sushi with me.
  • A weekend in Chicago at the end of the summer around my birthday.
  • The end of the FIFA World Cup hoopla.
Which brings us to the end of this questionnaire and the final question: which 3 people I am tagging to continue this survey... which I'm not going to do actually. I hope a piano doesn't fall from the sky, or worse, an anvil, but I am breaking the chain. I've had fun thinking about my answers which I think is the point of this little exercise, and even more fun with my scanner digging about in my hard copy photographs, but I'm sure any of my blogger friends waiting with bated breath to see if they are it are happy now to exhale having escaped the tag from rcakewalk.

Thanks for tagging me, Brooke. I had fun digging through my old trip pictures, from back when I had a real film camera. I still have 2 old film cameras, just waiting for me to stop ignoring them and bring them back into vogue. Maybe my first old relic camera will be photographed today for LIFEyear, since it is the camera that took the Croatian and western pics. I kind of forgot how much I've missed it.


  1. The brit version of Life on Mars is fantastic, but I would give it a bit before watching it, the American script is often taken word for word from the British version and it's a little strange.

  2. you write beautifully and I enjoyed your trip down memory lane. I've followed your blog since I discovered we had Wilton in common and now I've discovered that we also have Minocqua and Fountain City in common too. (I am clueless as to how I found you in the first place). This huge world gets smaller every day. thanks for sharing. I really enjoy your blog.

  3. Becky,
    Where do you live now? I'm curious if we've ever met... even if by accident.

    It is strange how small the world really is. I recently discovered that though we are separated by about 17 years of age, and miles and miles, I may have been on the same boat at the same time a flickr contact of mine worked on it in the '90's (when I was vacationing in Maine with my family). My Husband, that I didn't know at the time, was most likely at the same movie on the same day and time I was - we know this because it was crazy, downpouring weather, and not just everyone goes to see Anaconda at the Value Cinema...

    I love coincidences! Another one is that my immediate family calls me Becky, too... though no one else does anymore.

  4. YAY! You did it! I so enjoyed getting to know this stuff about you. You did a lovely job however begrudgingly it was done. Thank you for this and for making me laugh. Girl, you deserve a trophy for the jobs you've held! I also think it's awesome that you broke the chain! xo

  5. Hi there! Becky here again. In response to your question ~ I currently live in South Milwaukee. I lived in Hillsboro for many years, in a turn-of-the century brick farmhouse on 20 acres and went to Gina's a lot, but probably partied with her more... :)
    I love your blog; you have an interesting life and you write very well.

  6. Becky, are you "Miss Becky"?! If so, then we've met, and I have some if your college mixtapes that I love!!! I talked Gina into giving them to me, since I loved them so much, I've almost worn them out.


Communication is a good thing, most of the time...