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We just wanted to wish everyone in the States a Merry Turkey Day!!!!

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– Corey & Lisa –

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After many months of anticipation or annoyance, depending on who you talk, Wisconsin will finally figure out if the state truly does stand with Walker.  Tonight, for the second time in less than two years, Scott Walker is squaring off against Milwaukee mayor Tom Barrett for the governorship for Wisconsin.  I know many of you reading know all the details regarding why this second election has been deemed necessary, but for those of you that don’t, here’s a little background. 

The whole drama began in February 2o11 when Scott Walker backed a bill that would, for all intents and purposes, castrate the public sector unions.  Their rights to collectively bargain pensions and health care would be purged and their current benefits would be cut.  We were told that to do this would save the state about 180 million dollars a year and would be the only alternative to mass layoffs of public sector employees.  Prior to a vote in the state assembly, the democratic senators fled the state to Illinois in protest.  In the days that followed thousands and thousands of people came from all over the state to protest what they felt was an unfair law that Scott Walker had concealed from his election.  It’s no overstatement to say that the eyes of the nation turned to Wisconsin to see how this episode would play out.  After several weeks of protest, on March 9th, 2011, a lone democrat was lured back to the capitol building under the guise of a talk.  As soon as he arrived, roll was called and despite his adamant protest, the bill was voted on and passed.  Shortly their after, the recall petitions for Walker and Republican members of the state senate began being passed around leading to the election tonight. 

Overhead view of hundreds of people wearing red for the Teachers' union, protesting against Walker's bill.

Now there are a number to details about this whole “recall” and all other recent “recalls” that have not quite sat well with me.  The first being is Wisconsin’s case, the one year waiting period before the gubernatorial recall petition can be started.  I don’t understand why, if a politician does anything that his/her constituents deems impeachable, that the entire process can’t start immediately.  In my opinion, this year waiting period has allowed many people to forget the crap that Gov. Walker and his Republican cronies pulled in the winter of 2011.  Remember his taped conversations with the billionaire Koch brothers, discussing whether or not to bring paid thugs to Madison to cause trouble in order to make the protesting lefties look bad?   That year encourages a politician to pull outlandish crap early on in their administration in hopes that later on people will begin to forget when the time comes to sign a petition or vote.

Another aspect of this “recall” that bothers me is that this isn’t a true recall.  I believe a recall should be a yes/no vote.  If the yes’ take the majority, then set up the primaries leading up to a final election where new candidates are involved.  Wisconsin isn’t the only state that gets it wrong when it comes to recall elections.  Let’s look back at California in 2000.  The backward rules in that recall election were that Grey Davis, in siting Governor, had to get 50% of the vote or more in order to remain in office.  If he received less than 50%, the person with the highest remaining percentage would be declared the winner.  Obviously, Mr. Davis didn’t get his 50%.  He did garner 42% of the vote, the highest of all those running.  Arnold “The Terminator” Schwarzenegger only received 22%.  So even though Grey Davis got the highest percentage of all those running and would have won if this had been a normal election, he lost because of these ridiculous recall voting laws.

No matter who wins tonight, I think it’s safe to say that Scott Walker has been a disaster as governor.  Things aren’t any closer to being better in Wisconsin then they were in November 2011.  In fact, depending on who you ask they may be worse.  Every day Scott Walker gets closer and closer to fitting the dictionary definition of a fascist.  Look it up, you’ll be surprised how close he fits.  On top of that he’s a liar. I’m sure most of you are familiar with his recent attempt to cover up the fact that Wisconsin is losing jobs, not gaining them in droves like his economic policy was supposed to do.  He’s also apparently an idiot.  By screwing public employees and teachers via his new colletive bargaining law, he was supposed to be saving the state many millions.  This extremely controversial law was supposed to eliminate the need for mass layoffs.  I wonder then, if Mr. Walker could explain why Menomonee Falls Public Works had to fire 8 employees earlier in May, reducing an already record low staff. 

English: Scott Walker, 45th Governor of Wisconsin

The truth is that this is all part of the plan of Mr. Walker and his lackies in the Republican party.  The aim of the goal is the eventual privatization of almost all public jobs.  What he and his friends don’t tell the public is that privatization in the long run actual costs the taxpayer more money in the long run, but that’s ok for him.  As long as big business is happy and giving to him and his friends campaigns, all is good, the public be damned.  The unfortunate thing about this whole mess is that, for the most part, the public is left unaware.  The mass media is silent.  It’s a shame that you have to stumble upon random blogs from random people in order to catch a glimpse of any honest questions and even the slightest bit of real truth.  Not the manufactured garbage on the local news and the stuff written in the local “liberal” rag.  I don’t think Tom Barrett is the answer, but he is definitely a step in a better direction in this media made event we’re calling a “recall”.

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Lately, I’ve been wanting to write a post on the status of my hair.  But, to be honest, there was really nothing new going on with it.  That was until this morning when I got a little trigger-happy with the scissors & cut off more than I was planning. 

With the trip rapidly approaching, I had planned to take a bit more off, to see how manageable a bob would be.  But, I ended up with an afro instead!  It’s only been 1 day, but it’s actually starting to grow on me.  Now, let’s hope the folks at work can handle it!

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After my last post  if someone told me that the next thing I’d feel inspired to talk about would be the Hunger Games series, I would have thought they were nuts.  As most of you probably already know, Lisa’s and my choice of reading material is quite different to say the least.  I spend most of my free time reading about politics, current events, the early history/origins of man, and even a bit of conspiracy theory.  Lisa on the other hand occupies her time making friendship bracelets to give out on our trip and reading mostly books that she finds in the teen/young adult section.  She also reads books on travel and has recently started reading books on learning Spanish.

Her favorite genre of books I would have to say are dystopian dramas.  In dystopian books pretty much anything that can go wrong will go wrong, the exact opposite of utopian.  By all definitions the Hunger Games series falls in that category.  We first heard about the Hunger Games during Christmas of 2010.  We were visiting Lisa’s parents in Raleigh, NC.  Lisa’s mother had recently finished the series which she found through her book club.  She highly recommend them to Lisa.  By the end of our week and a half stay in Raleigh, Lisa had finished Mockingjay, the third and final book in the series. 

 To surprise her on our return to Wisconsin, I bought the whole series via Amazon.com.  Almost immediately upon our return, she began lightly pressuring me to read them.  She explained to me the general idea of the first book. I have to admit that I found the concept interesting.  Kids sent into a gladiator type situation where only one survives did sound like something that I would find interesting.  However, I have sooooo  many books on subjects that I’m incredibly interested in that I didn’t really feel like I could spare the time.  Not nagging, but every now and again Lisa would try, unsuccessfully,  to talk me into reading the series. 

As opening  night for the Hunger Games movie was approaching, I’m sure Lisa had given up all hope that I would read the books.  Because of the topic matter I figured I’d like the movie.  On Friday March 23rd, we saw the 10:25 PM showing of the Hunger Games in Menomonee Falls.  About half way through the movie I came to a realization, Lisa was right.  The Hunger Games appeared to be so much more than I was expecting. I now knew that I needed to read these books.   Usually after we see a book turned to movie, Lisa will tell me if there were any major differences and if she found the adaptation acceptable.  As we walked out of the theater, she was about to open her mouth and I stopped her and said, “I’m going to read them.”  I don’t think she could have been happier. 

We got home at 1:20 AM on Saturday morning.  Lisa went to bed and I started in on the Hunger Games. 6 days and three books later, I finished reading Mockingjay at 3:00 AM on Friday morning.  I found it almost impossible to put these books down.  Even at work, when the action was heating up, I would find a way to read.  I didn’t even really care if I got caught. I can say unequivocally that The Hunger Games series is the best, most thought-provoking, depressing group of books that I have ever read.  I felt as though my insides had been removed, that I was just a hollow man.  In some respects, I’m still feeling this way as I write this 3 days removed. 

When Lisa came home from work on Friday, I wanted to make sure that there wasn’t something wrong with me. That she felt it too, when she was done.  To my relief, her post Hunger Games symptoms sounded pretty much like my own. I just can’t seem to stop thinking about it.  Watching movies this weekend have given me brief breaks from HG Syndrome, but as soon the credits are rolling, my mind is back in Panem.  I’ve even thought about learning the use an old school bow and arrow!  It’s actually taken a lot of will power not to start reading the whole series again.  Lisa said that even several books later, she would still look up from reading and think about them.  I guess I had no idea what I was getting myself into by reading these books.  I have no regrets, it’s just incredible the power a great story can have on a person.  I’m just glad I’m not alone.

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It was smooth sailing for a nice portion of my transition from relaxed to natural hair.  Then, the temperature dropped, the moisture in the air became less & my hair didn’t know what it got itself into.  Or maybe I didn’t know what I had gotten my hair into?  Either way, these past few weeks have been a challenge, but I found the perfect resolution for my hair. 

Because the air hasn’t had as much moisture in it I’ve been upping the ante in terms of the amount of water, conditioner and shea butter I’ve been applying to my hair.  Once I realized that still wasn’t enough I went over to nappturality & began searching the message boards for homemade hair remedies.  I found some really great ones over there, but both recipes that I mention today are from my Curly Girl book.  Avocado is a known to be a great, natural moisturizer for dry hair, so I got all the ingredients for the recipe below in hopes of restoring my locks:

Wrapunzel (Avocado Hair Treatment):

  • ripe avocado
  • 3-4 teaspoons of honey
  • 8-10 drops of olive oil or jojoba oil

The ingredients above are all put in a blender, then you apply it to wet hair (targeting the ends), wrap your head in plastic & let it sit for 20-30 minutes.  Rinse your hair, condition & style as normal.  Now, I’ve successfully done this hair treatment in the past with good results, but was unsuccessful 3 weeks ago, when I bought a not-so-ripe avocado (whoops!).

I knew I couldn’t go another week without some sort of treatment, but I didn’t want to go anywhere because it was so cold outside.  So, I decided to try out this recipe since I had all the ingredients at home & had GREAT results:

Love is in the Hair (Tonic for Dry Hair):

  • 4 tablespoons olive oil, jojoba oil, or shea butter
  • 4 tablespoons conditioner
  • 2-3 drops of essential oil

Because jojoba oil is pretty expensive I didn’t want to put 4 whole tablespoons of that in.  Instead, I used:

  • 1 tablespoon of jojoba oil
  • 2ish tablespoons of shea butter (I have lotion, not a bar)
  • 2 tablespoons of conditioner
  • 3 drops of tea tree oil 

Conditioner, Shea Butter Lotion, Jojoba Oil & Tea Tree Oil

Mix all the ingredients together, which, at first, looks kinda gross (like cottage cheese – yuck)!

Then, after a lot of stirring (your arm may be sore) it looks nice & smooth like butter!

Love is in the Hair

Once the mixture is ready, apply to wet hair & leave in as long as you can.  The first 2 times I left it in overnight, but be warned, your hair will be drippy & you should place a towel under your head if you sleep with it in.  Next time I’m going to leave it in for 3 hours or so & see if I have the same results.  Rinse hair thoroughly & condition/style as normal.

Mixture in my hair!

I love this treatment & will be using it every 2-3 weeks until the weather gets warmer (ie: more moisture in the air).  You may have to adjust the amounts you put in depending on thickness & length of your hair.  Also, if you have a sensitive nose like me, be careful about which essential oils you add to the mix (FYI: tea tree & lavender oil are very strong).  

I still have the lotion in my hair here - it's mixed in enough that I can run some errands while bringing moisture to my hair! 🙂

Have you tried any homemade remedies that you can’t get enough of? 
I’d love to hear about them!

 

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Our favorite independent travel website, BootsnAll, has a great travel forum with all sorts of advice for those planning to travel. 

Recently, one of the members posted this:

What’s the hardest part of planning your round the world trip?

It’s a good question.  It’s one that we have to deal with on a monthly, weekly & even daily basis.  When you’re planning something this big your life tends to turn into a questionnaire:

  • Do we really need that extra camera lens?
  • Should we really be eating out again?
  • Can we wait to see that movie on Netflix?
  • Do we really need to get that car part fixed? 
    (Yes, breaks are important!)
  • If you buy those shoes will they come on the trip? 
    If not, why do you need them? (Lisa?)
  • If you already have 300+ books, do you really need more?  (Corey?)

You get the idea.  Every single day we have the choice to spend or to save.  Whether it’s in the morning & we decide to make lunch or at the grocery store wanting to purchase something that you know you’re picky-self probably won’t like.  Should I start cutting Corey’s hair too?

haircut by me

Last weekend, we had no choice.  The money needed to be spent.  The Escape not only needed new rear breaks (which we suspected), but the entire break system had to be redone!  You don’t even want to know how much that set us back.  On top of that we’re still paying off a hospital visit from last summer.  We’ve been in a good saving stride for more than a year now, so we’re not that surprised to have a set back.  (In case you were wondering, luck has never truly been on our side.) 

So, as you may have guessed, we’re pushing the trip back.  Don’t worry, it’s not a big push.  The departure date has changed from August 31, 2012 to October 15, 2012.

our reminder to remain focused!

So, what’s the hardest part of planning the trip?  The answer to that question 4 years ago would’ve been saving.  To say we were awful at it would be an understatement.  The answer to that question now is patience.  To have the trip so close, but still have to deal with rude, ignorant, arrogant, pompous people on daily basis has been a struggle.  We were hoping that this last leg of the race would be a breeze, but in fact, it’s been the most challenging yet!

The planning/saving + patience has been one large HUGE GYNORMOUS test!  After 4+ years, I think we’re finally passing!  Yeah, it’s probably a B+, but there’s always room for improvement!  As long as we stay in the right mindset, we’ll be able to get out of here by October.  Maybe you guys could do us a favor & wish us luck(?) . . . like I said, it’s never really been on our side!

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For the second time in Wallagrams history, I (Corey) am taking the time to write a post.  In the future you can expect me to become a more intricate part of Wallagrams.  I may even write a Part 2 for my America Ain’t So Grand post.  Today’s topic is not quite as heavy and serious. Well it kind of is.

I personally don’t have a whole lot of hobbies.  I like to disc golf and I love to read serious books about political ideologies, oil, globalism, human rights, and economics.  Some may find my taste in reading material to be kind of dry and boring, but I am fascinated with all subjects dealing in general with how the world works. With all this seriousness in my daily life you would think I should have something to turn to relax and calm my nerves.  I do have another hobby to turn to, but unfortunately it usually doesn’t have the desired calming effect. I am a huge sports fan and by huge I mean HUGE!!  I love watching basketball, football and even baseball.  At work I listen the sports talk radio all day on 540 ESPN Milwaukee.  I love the local shows The D-List and Homer & Thunder. I’m a  big fan of all the local teams, Packers, Badgers, Brewers, Golden Eagles, even the pathetic and hard to watch Bucks. I’ve also been a big fan of North Carolina Tarheel basketball.  Lisa and the cats can attest to my fandom and the insane passion I have while watching a game.  I live and die with every pass, shot and pitch.  I clap, I yell, I jump up and down and run around the house (scaring the cats and Lisa), I’ve even been known to swear when things aren’t going my way. 

 
(Aaron Rodgers on my favorite morning talk show) 
 
Luckily for me, 2011 was probably the best year in Wisconsin sports history.  Aside from the Wisconsin Badgers getting beat by two deep passes and the Milwaukee Brewers pathetic display in the NLCS.  It’s been a pretty good year.  2012 on the other hand hasn’t started to out too good.  I don’t think I’ve ever been more angry and dejected than I was last Sunday when the Green Bay Packers didn’t show up in their divisional playoff game against the New York Giants.  Although, as is the case with sports, my pain was someone elses pleasure, my father in-law is a big Giants fan.
 
You may be wondering at this point, what the heck does my love for sports have to do with travel.  Well once we are on the road I won’t be able to watch all the games and be as up to date on the goings on in the sports world. To be honest it’s probably going to be a tough adjustment.  For example, I’ve only missed watching 2 Packer games since 1992. 
 
To prepare for this I’ve been trying to take a little step back.  I haven’t been as adamant about watching every college basketball game this year.  Don’t get me wrong I’m still watching, but not as fanatically.  In April, our contract with Direct TV will be over and in another effort to save money we will be getting rid of our subscription and not getting anything else.  We will still have the TV, but we’ll only be able to watch our movies on it.  Again, there will be an adjustment period, but I think in the long run this will be good for both of us, especially me. 
 
On the road, I know I’ll still be able to check in and see what’s going.  Depending on where we are I my even be able to find a Packer bar and catch a game.  However, I feel that even if I don’t, I’ll be able to find my way through our trip without sports, I think. 

 

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