Think Dirty (App)

I don't recommend many products or apps, but after reading "Whats Gotten Into Us" and speaking with others, it seemed like trying the Think Dirty app would be pretty simple. From their welcome email:
"Let's start out by turning your attention towards the following dirty thoughts:
Currently there are 80,000 synthetic chemicals that are not fully tested (Source: Natural Resource Defense Council
In US, cosmetic industry's panel has reviewed just 11 percent of the 10,500 cosmetic ingredients cataloged by FDA (FDA 2000)
Only 11 Chemicals are banned in US.
Canada has a guideline for just over 650 and The European Union Health Commission has restricted over 1,300 chemicals.
There is outdated government regulations when it comes to cosmetics, that hasn't been updated since 1930.
Safe Cosmetics and Personal Care Products Act of 2013 finally introduced and awaiting for voting. But there's no pre-market approval requirement for cosmetics to be on sale in US and Canadian markets.
No legal definitions of "Natural" and Organic.
Laws are not required to regulate the use of words like "Natural" and "Organic" on cosmetics and personal care products.
Fragrances are considered trade-secret
Manufacturers are not required to disclose specific fragrance ingredients on the product label. Instead, the generic term parfum is listed, representing a mixture of potentially dozens of chemicals.
Ick, right? But don't panic! Now that you have the Think Dirty app, you can scan products – from face wash to shampoo to makeup — and find out what's really inside. The Think Dirty app helps you choose products that won't sacrifice your health for the sake of beauty.
Also, come check out our website at thinkdirtyapp.com. There, you can get the latest news, read more about the effects of ingredients in the products you use every day, or even ask us a question about personal care products.
As a thank you enjoy $10 OFF with this promo code: WELCOME10 for your next purchase at our clean beautique™. We curated a monthly box of rated clean beauty brands to make it easy for you!
Get ready to start scanning!
Think Dirty, Shop Clean."

Important stuff that apparently we have to monitor for ourselves. 


Sinus Surgery, Madison Surgical Center, Madison, WI

This was a real fun one... great way to end the year, right? After numerous sinus infections in the last year (never any before), it was time to have my sinuses fixed or as I think most people call it - "roto-rooted". Kind of like an early Christmas present to myself, through my insurance... or something.

First off, let me say that anything a consumer/patient has to do for insurance "pre-authorization" is malarkey. What a waste of time, effort and worry. In this instance, I hadn't received approval for the surgery until the day before I went under. Thank you medical and insurance companies for the extra worry, nice doing business with you.

Now, as we discussed recently regarding my hip surgery, I don't really get too wigged out going in for outpatient surgery (especially for something as "easy" as sinus stuff - Maybe I should write a book of tips for the hospital?). It's like I get to work on my stand-up act (that's never performed) with a new person every 5 minutes or so. I wasn't too worried about this one, and thought the results & removal of sinus infections, would be well-worth the temporary pain. A different sister came up from IL to help me get home from the procedure (thanks BIG, V! I don't think I called you out on social media - my bad - HUGE help... no, I'm not calling her "Big V" either).

[new footies for my collection - not really]

In a nutshell, you get your own private "surgical suite" to get ready in before this surgery. You have to take a series of Affrin in the nose to open 'er up for surgery. It went fine, took about 50 minutes, and then it wasn't too long until they wheeled me back, awake (seems like you get onto the table awake now-a-days). The staff here at MSC was pretty pro, save for maybe the woman that put my IV in. Whatever she decided to do, it left my left hand with a large bruise and sore for days after. Shout-out to the main nurse, Ana, she was great.

Once out of the drug induced sleepy-time, I felt pretty decent (though possibly too loopy to really comment), save for the pain pressure in the nose area. Luckily, I got a "free" ice pack just for my eyes and nose. Amen.

I headed home soon after, had a calzone and watched TV (Thank you FreeForm network). The next day was a bit more stressful, not only did the sister duck out (who wants to sit around with a lump?), the nose started to feel like it was burning inside. I suspect from all the "enhancements" to my nasal passageways. Only one way to put out a nasal fire, sterile saline solution. Tons of it, all the time. It helped, some.

I had a couple Norco to take the edge off on Saturday, and by Sunday, though not sleeping or breathing well, I didn't feel too bad. Over the next couple days it got better. I really wanted to packing out by Tuesday (3.5 days after) and even went in early to do so.

So, when I went in, we went over my CT scans, results and one or two minor issues. He had almost all my questions answered through his normal post-op info.

Since he had not used normal packing material, but used dis-solvable packing, due to a feature of my sinuses, all that was left was to suck out the dis-solvable packing. I mean, "evacuate". Sign me up, I was way ready. In a few moments and about 6 sneezes later, I could smell, taste, and breathe again. It was glorious.

[up my nose with a metal "hose"]

I should feel even better in the next two weeks or so, after using a netty pot daily. In 3 months, I should be totally healed.

If you've been having issues with your sinuses (multiple infections each year), I'd whole-hardheartedly recommend this procedure. Dr. David Upton was very professional as was Madison Surgical Center. Of course, I'm sure there's somebody in your hood to do these too. My other suggestion for this surgery (and LASIK) would be to schedule it for the spring or summer. The natural humidity in the air will help healing.

Last shout-out  - to the brave soul in NC that had this earlier in the year and was a big help in allaying my (many) concerns. Thanks!

Blog Note: this is blog post #1001. Not too shabby after 7 years.


Macushla Brewing, Glenview, IL

Glenview, IL is the town our family raised all 7 of us in. In most years, when we come back for holidays, we like to check out new haunts and see what's shakin'. And thanks to the boon that is the craft brewing industry in almost every city in the US, I think I could do a brewery crawl just in Glenview (ok, at least a bar crawl with breweries included). 

Now, throw in a high-school classmate opening his own brewery adjacent to his families' famous burger joint (Hackney's on Lake St) and you have a real reason for most of the family to head out and "get a taste", literally.

I was, I don't know, shocked maybe to see how much work had been done to refurbish their old laundry building and set this brewery up for success. Walking up left us wondering if it was the right place as it was simply too fancy to be a brewery next to a stately Hackney's location. But it was the place. 

They have 32 seats inside and about double that when the weather's nice on a large patio (with garage doors opening the whole place up). 

Head inside and gander at the big chalkboard beer menu, grab a Hackney's menu from the waiter-on-call and sit down for a spell. Time for some brews.

Beer selection was diverse and solid, and many have a family story behind the names, just ask. Everyone in our group seemed to find a beer they liked or tried a few (or more, gulp!). Food was classic Hackney's which happened to be perfect fare on this night. Service was very attentive, but I guess I have to say I know the owners. For being so new and well-appointed (surfaces, woods, decor, lighting), it keeps a casual feeling and the formality level you'd expect for a brewery. They also had many different groups coming in and out during our visit. Young families with children were eating dinner (early) when we arrived, then a normal dinner crowd, then later on it looked like the wives of Glenview let all their husbands out of the house... 'cause the bar was packed with 40-something dudes drinking beer.

Inside looking out to the patio...

Even little touches like this in the men's room make it pretty "lived in" for only being open a short while. This is the name of the owner, but I don't think this is his rookie card.

If you find yourself in Glenview, IL, I HIGHLY suggest you stop here. I'll be back, no doubt (and already have).


Hip Surgery #2, Hinsdale, IL

[squeamish people be warned - one graphic incision pic]

#2 is a fitting moniker for this round, or any round, of hip surgery. It's poop. I mean, it's not much fun to recover from it, but then again, hopefully once fully healed, it's all good. Crossing the fingers, but not the legs as that would be too much for the hip.

I went into Hinsdale Hospital in early November to get the cutting and bone-shaping completed (that's a fun thing). The staff in this place was very, very good, IMO. Everyone coming in to prep me for surgery was on top of it. To be clear, there were a lot of them, like 9 people, including OT and a Chaplin! I could have done without the 3/4 leg shave, but such is life (and I have great legs, dammit!).

It's mostly interesting for me to go through the process in the hospital, so I don't tend to get nervous or weirded out. I keep the mood light and the staff laughing, so I get their best service. For example, whenever a staff member said, "I'll be right back", I started replying, "I'll just stay here." (lying in a bed with only a gown on). Almost all of them laughed, but it seemed a bit like low-hanging comedy fruit to me.

They started my visit by swabbing the inside of each nostril with some chemical to help prevent infections, then a full body sponge bath with some kind of pre-soaked chemical cloth. And it was just me doing it to myself, - boo, no fun. Not even the sister would help. Midway through prep, the surgeon (Dr. Domb) came into the pre-surgery cubby and sign the correct leg for operation. Phew!

Once you're knocked out, there's not much to it. You wake up pretty out of it in a post-surgical area and they help you "come around". Then, for this surgery, they plop you in a wheelchair and you get to leave the hospital. You happen to have a big "diaper" on the surgical site, that can't be removed for 72 hours. No showers either, folks. It's a pretty odd deal, but underneath the bandage was simply packing gauze that stacks-up under, seemingly to keep the bandages up off the incisions and provide something to soak up any liquids (eeeewwww).

You know it's the correct leg because the bandage is on the one with the signature - huzzah! I only wound up with three relatively small incisions (from 3/4" to maybe 1-1/4"). Take a look for yourself...

And that's after the Steristrips were taken off 14 days "post-surgery" (they love using fancy doctor words). See, the hair's growing back... but MAN do I hate band-aid residue.

It's going to take a good few months to have it be back to normal, but thanks to Dr. Domb and Hinsdale Hospital, I think it's got a great chance of coming out very well.

Special thanks to my sister who was my hospital "chaperone" AND the family in Geneva that fed me well and helped me rest for three days after. Never a dull moment. I mean, look at this grub!!!

My very own Acai bowl. We would have had to share that with two other siblings back in the day.

 Waffles in bed? Yes please!!!

Look at that "Thanksgiving" sammy! And their own homemade pumpkin bars. Cha-ching!


Marigold Kitchen, Madison, WI

So, you know brunch is a pretty awesome part of the weekend, right? And you NEED to have a solid, go-to brunch spot where you live. Well, I think I've found mine in Madison. It's not exactly close to home, but not really far either. It's downtown, off the Capitol Square, a little out of the way, but also centrally located if any out-of-towners care to take in a Capitol tour after brunch or walk all the way down State Street. So, I probably won't walk to this place, but it's a short drive or ride away and a good location, imo.

Not only that, but once you're inside (or seated outside), this place brings it. To be clear, they're only open for breakfast and lunch, so they don't get distracted by dinner malarkey. This is also not a full wait-staffed set-up - rather, you place your order at the counter, receive a number for your table, then go hunt for a spot to sit. They bring your selections out to you as they're made. I think it's a fine system for brunch and seems to fit this place well. I've sat at a table and at the bar, with really no trouble getting a seat. It is busy on the weekends, and by no means a secret spot, but I think they do well at getting people in and out, in my experience.

They have a varied, American brunch menu, with some hearty, South-Central WI staples and offerings for the experimental college crowd too. They have great pastries & coffee drinks available, so sit down, grab a paper, sip on something -  don't rush the meal, take your time.

There's no question that it's a bustling place on the weekend, but isn't that part of the fun of brunch on the weekend? See some oddballs, eat some good food, have a drink at breakfast (they have that too).

This visit was in the fall, so they had some great fall decor and Pumpkin Pancakes on the menu. I can't say no to these, so I didn't this time. I did get a short-stack though (2 instead of 5), and a side order of a local breakfast sausage (which was very good).

To be clear, those a hearty Pumpkin Pancakes with Whipped Cinnamon Butter and local maple syrup on the side (soon to be on-my-pancakes).

When you're in town, we'll go, you'll love it. 


Stubby's Bowling Alley, Waterloo, WI

Thanks to a work event, I got to see firsthand that cool little bowling alleys still exist in America. I fondly recall memories from childhood of walking into a bar (and pretty quickly) into the back of the establishment, which had 8 beautiful bowling lanes snuck inside.

Stubby's is a lot like that place. Just 6 lanes inside, with a bar on the left. Balls seemed to have become fancier (finger-tip type abound) and the shoes were fine if you got a new pair... so-so if you got an old pair (like me). They were all dolled-up for Halloween and you couldn't miss it. Otherwise, I'd say this is a pretty no-frills kind of place, where people definitely go for the bowling.

Finally, the beers & pizzas came fast & furious, just like I like 'em. I'm pretty sure we tried all the pizza options - "Deluxe" was good, but the clear winner was "The Porker". Just give me all the meats, with bacon, please (last pic).


Dane County Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Truck Parade, Madison, WI

Did you know the week in October with the 9th in it is usually reserved for National Fire Prevention Week? Well, to kick it all off, the fire departments in the Madison area get together on the Capitol square to show off their trucks and meet the public. It was a really cool thing to notice from above (while outside on Capitol tour) and then walk down and see up close.

Everyone was really friendly and kids and adults alike could sit in some of the trucks and check out the equipment. They had 26 vehicles from 23 area cities in attendance and it took up about 1.5 blocks of the Square.

Awesome event for anyone and everyone that's easily impressed by the commitment and service of our nation's fire personnel.


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