About Betty Risteen Hasselkus

I am an emeritus professor of occupational therapy at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Putting Food on the Table

Gone are the days when most people have kitchen gardens from which they can harvest seasonal fruits and vegetables for their daily meals.  I got to thinking recently about the many other possibilities that now exist here in Madison, and presumably in many places, for getting food on the table.  Meals on Wheels, probably the earliest and only food delivery service to people in their homes, is now one of an amazing variety of other services and businesses, many that bring food to the neighborhood or front door.

Probably pizza delivery was one of the first options for home delivery, its arrival signaled by the sound of the doorbell.  Since those early days, many other restaurants deliver meals as well.  In the newspaper last week was an article about two young entrepreneurs who are starting a meal delivery business for a whole list of restaurants — well beyond the pizza delivery model.

Grocery stores now have large deli sections filled with fully prepared salads and pasta dishes and twice baked potatoes, all ready to put on the table.  In addition, there are hot entrees ready to go — rotisserie chickens, pizza slices, sesame chicken, macaroni and cheese, meat loaf, etc.  Some of the large grocery stores also offer a service by “personal shoppers;” these shoppers are employees whose job it is to do the grocery shopping for people who can no longer get to the store themselves. These customers submit lists of what they need and the shoppers gather all the items into carts, bag them up and send the groceries to the people’s homes in a van.

If not to the front door, then foods may be brought to the neighborhood, such as the farmers’ markets that are wildly popular — at least in the Midwestern part of the United States.  We have a huge farmers’ market here during spring, summer and fall, all around the capitol square on every Saturday morning.  And there are smaller neighborhood Farmers’ Markets as well on other days of the week.

This past summer, somebody organized a weekly Food Carts night in our neighborhood park, just two blocks away from our house — another alternative to cooking the evening meal.

Recently, friends of mine told me about a “fresh ingredients and recipe delivery service” called the Blue Apron.  They have signed on for 3 recipes a week.  The Blue Apron has videos on line that offer instruction in the preparation of the recipes and the  recipes are never repeated in the same year.  The Blue Apron website declares that it “delivers everything you need to cook incredible meals at home.”

And now I’ve discovered that my son and daughter-in-law have signed on to a non-profit agency– Community Supported Agriculture —  that supports local farms by pairing up households with specific farms.  The farm owners deliver bags of fresh vegetables and fruit, and sometimes eggs, cheese or  herbs, to a household station for pickup weekly or biweekly during the growing season.  I have seen signs for CSA at pick-up points around the city.

All of this awareness of food and meal sources has led me to think about the time spent as rehabilitation occupational therapists, working with patients to help them function in an adapted kitchen — to enable them to prepare, cook and serve meals when they are discharged home.  Such a focus in therapy remains valued and needed, but information about other ways to go about getting a meal on the table can also be helpful and an eye-opener.  At the very least, we as occupational therapists need to be well informed about what all the options are in our home territory. We want to be able to appropriately provide information and guidance on the best way for each person with whom we work to put food on the table when he or she goes back home to resume life in the community.

From Standing Balance to Shooting a Rifle

ResearchGate is a network that seeks to connect researchers around the world by posting information about others who share your interests, who cite your research, who follow your work. etc. I’m not very skilled at using the network, but sometimes I am able to track down the connections that are offered.

So, now hear this:

In 1975, I published my master’s degree study in the Journal of Gerontology, 30(6), 661-667, “Aging and Postural Sway in Women.” It was a study comparing postural sway in 2 groups of women — young adults and older adults.  I was interested in aging and the central nervous system and falls in older people.

Well, recently ResearchGate sent me information about a study done by a group of researchers from Belgium and Italy in which my 1975 publication was cited. I was a little startled to find that my findings were serving as a resource for recent research on standing balance as related to shooting performance. Shooting — as in shooting a rifle.  More specifically, body recoil when shooting.

The melding of these two research areas of interest — standing balance in aging women and standing balance in rifle shooting — made me think about how interconnected our world is today,  Like, how everything is related to everything.  And how my master’s thesis study, innocently carried out some 40 years ago in the photo lab of the Women’s Physical Education building at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, is contributing to current research on the body’s recoil when shooting a rifle.

Just saying …………

Scataglini, S., et al. (2018).  Assessment of human balance due to recoil destabilization using smart clothing.  Advances in Physical Ergonomics and Human Factors.  DOI 10.1007/978-3-319-60825-9_20

On the Road Again

I have been traveling U.S. Highway 12 between Baraboo and Madison, Wisconsin, my whole life — literally.  I was born at University Hospitals in Madison and had my first ride home to Baraboo when I was 2 weeks old.  As a child, we came to Madison in my earliest years to appointments with the pediatrician, the eye clinic, and the orthodontist.  Every year, before school started in the fall, we came to shop for new school clothes in the many stores around the Capitol Square. Once in a while we drove to Madison to attend concerts.  (I remember on one occasion, probably when I was 8 or 10 years old, my sister and I came with our parents to hear the world-renowned pianist Artur Rubinstein perform in the Memorial Union Theater. Eleanor and I “split” one ticket —  she attended the first half of the program and I attended after the intermission.   At the time, I worried some about whether or not we were “breaking the law”!)

And so I came to know the 42 miles between Baraboo and Madison well — the contours of the land, the small towns, the farms, the rivers, the bridges, the special points of interest.  Now, in my adult years, I realize that this highway offers much more than a way to get from Baraboo to Madison. The highway is, in fact, a living historical record of places, events and changes that have been an integral part of the region and of my life across these years. The countryside along U.S. Highway 12 offers at least four layers of historical significance to me:

  • Deep geological time including some of the earth’s oldest exposed rock formations, known to and studied by geologists from around the globe;
  • Native American history including the tensions that came with European settlers;
  • The conversion during World War II of some of the most fertile, privately owned farmland in the state into the U.S.Badger Army Ammunition Works during WWII.  At the time, this plant was one of the largest in the country, with operations that continued during the Korean War and, even to some extent, the Vietnam War; and
  • My own personal memories of places and events associated with Highway 12.

I will describe the first of these — geological time — in this posting.  The other three will come in the next blog.

DEEP GEOLOGICAL TIME

How can I capture the essence of the Baraboo Hills in a few paragraphs?  The Hills comprise about 200 square miles of land, with north, south, east and west ranges forming a sort of oval or elliptical shape. The range is clearly visible in satellite imagery. The town of Baraboo is located within the valley that lies between the high ranges.

The Baraboo range has been referred to as a geologist’s “mecca”, one of the world’s “remaining outstanding ecosystems,” and the “remnant of an ancient quartzite mountain range.”  Ancient — as in really, really old.  U.S.Highway 12 makes its way south through the Baraboo Hills as it heads from Baraboo to Madison.

One of the first obvious signs of the Hills is a rather sharp curve in the highway, just four miles south of Baraboo, a curve that cuts through an enormous stone outcropping of quartzite called “Point of Rocks.”  This prominent outcropping of quartzite is very important to geologists because it has the best exposure known of sedimentary features — features that help tell the tale of the earth’s development over an estimated 2,800 million years.  The Baraboo rocks date from an estimated 1,650 million years ago.  The many features of the outcropping were studied by a University of Wisconsin geology professor in the late 19th century and were used to describe the various phases and layers of the planet’s topographical formation.  Features such as cross bedding, soft-sediment deformation, stratification, and ripple marks were observed and identified at that time by Professor Van Hise, and his methods and findings laid the groundwork for structural geology theory and practice today.

Point of Rocks along Hwy.12, with geology students. Photo by Dr. Diane Kiesel of the UW Baraboo Center.

Can you see the “syncline” of the quartzite?  The rock is inclined 25 degrees to the north, i.e. the layered rocks are downbending toward the north.  Exactly what causes such deformations is unclear.

After completing the sharp curve around the Point of Rocks, the highway immediately begins to ascend the east range of the Baraboo Hills, traveling up and over and then down, down onto an outwash plain. The outwash plain consists of deposits left behind by the rivers that drained the last Wisconsin glacier some 90,000 years ago.  Off to the east can be seen the low ridge of the Johnstown Moraine,also known as the terminal moraine, an accumulation of sediment along the margins of the Green Bay Lobe of last glacier.  Off to the west can be seen the hills of the Driftless Area, a term used to identify areas in the Midwestern United States that were not covered by the Ice Age glaciers.  The highway, in effect, crosses over the outwash plain between these two geological features — the Johnstown Moraine to the east and the Driftless Area to the west.

In recent years, now with at least rudimentary understandings of the geology of the Baraboo Hills,see the Hills and ridges and plains and quartzite along the highway with very different eyes.  The deep geological time exposed in these rocks feels like a visible sign of creation.  And my “respect” for all rocks in the world has increased a thousand fold.

Dott, R.H. Jr, & Attig, J.W.. (2004).  Roadside Geology of Wisconsin. Mountain Press Publishing Company:  Missoula, Montana.

Kruse, H. (n.d.).  Natural Areas in the Baraboo Hills.  Published in cooperation with Goblin Fern Press, http://www.goblinfernpress.com

Lange, K.I. (2014).  Song of Place:  A Natural History of the Baraboo Hills.  Ballindalloch Press:  Baraboo, WI.

Google:  Devil’s Lake State Park Baraboo Hills Wisconsin for spectacular views of the quartzite rocks on the bluffs around the lake.

(To Be Continued)