Thursday, July 31, 2014

2.31 Guilty Pleasures - Sparkling Water

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the thirty-first day of each month is "Guilty Pleasures."
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I'm not going to lie. I feel a tremendous amount of guilt over the amount of bottled water I consume.  It's an absolute waste of resources, what with the plastic that's used and the fact that there's perfectly potable water in a tap somewhere nearby, no matter where I am.

But I love carbonated water.  I love that it's not caloric, but it still gives me the same burn that a nice Coca-Cola gives.  But it's bad for the environment and is probably actually just water from some local tap that has just as many particulates as the water in my own tap at home.

The above water bottles are from Walgreens and the black cherry sparkling water is the best new discovery of food and drink that I have discovered since I found out how very much I adore kohlrabi.  It's not available at my Walgreens in Nowhere, Wisconsin, but it is available in most of the bigger (midwestern) cities I've been to including Chicago, Minneapolis, and Madison.   I highly recommend it if you want a delicious refreshing treat that may make your guilt about the environment and water resources kick in!
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

2.30 Contemplate - Today In Avoidance

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the thirtieth day of each month is "Contemplate."
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Between the tensions between Palestine and Israel and the imbroglio that is Russia and Ukraine, I struggle to force myself to look at the news in the morning. But I wonder about the civilians who lives in these countries - civilians who want nothing more than to live their lives, go to work, cook meals, care for their children, and play fetch at the park, but who now must live knowing that soldiers could be walking down the street, planes could be falling from the sky, and checkpoints that were intended for safety now provide everyday opportunities for violence and chaos. 

There are no easy solutions for any of these events and since I can't actually think of anything I can do personally to ease anybody's suffering, I find myself checking out from current events, more focused on my own day to day inconveniences and pesky annoyances.  But in many ways that makes me even more part of the problem, wallowing in guilt over something, but failing to act on any of it. Should I send money? Where should it go? Does it help to read the news? Write the letters?  Dream of a place where little kids can go to school without fear of being kidnapped or shot? 

I don't know any of the answers, but today I have plenty of questions.
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

2.29 Music

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-ninth day of each month is "Music."
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My husband used to play guitar. And then he got some arthritis in his hand and he started playing the mandolin because it was easier on some of the joints he had problems with. I HATED the mandolin with all of my heart - it was a killer on my ears and pushed all of my overloaded sensory buttons.  But then his thumb started giving him trouble and he did some research and determined that the dobro was really the right instrument for him in terms of not making me crazy and not aggravating his arthritis.
So the dobro hangs out in our bedroom and the boy mostly practices it while I am out of the house.  He currently has this Gold Tone dobro, but I'm pretty sure it won't last long. He's interested in Beard dobros and I'm pretty sure that within the time of this photo project, there will be another set of photos of a different dobro. 
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Monday, July 28, 2014

2.28 Cooking - Ham, Spinach, and Potato Frittata

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-eighth day of each month is "Cooking."
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I'm fascinated by what other people consider dinnertime staples - foods that are quick and easy to prepare and are favorites when they are prepared. Sometimes people say the weirdest things and I just sit there with my mouth open. I still have not found a way to cook chicken breasts that does not lead to undercoooked poultry or incredibly dry chicken, so when people tell me that they make chicken two or three times a week, I'm incredibly perplexed.

Our staples are tacos and frittatas.  Right now this particular frittata, adapted from a recipe I found in the February 2012 Real Simple magazine, is frequently in our rotation. We buy a package of frozen spinach and unthaw in in the microwave while we whisk 10 eggs, 4-6 ounces of cheddar cheese, and another 4 - 6 ounces of some meat (we usually use deli ham, but any meat is fine, really) together. Once the spinach is unthawed, add that to the bowl with the egg mixture. Then we preheat the oven to 400, chop up one giant potato or two smaller ones, saute the potatoes on the stovetop in an eight-inch skillet, and once the potatoes are cooked, dump in the egg mixture and put it in the oven for 10-13 minutes.  Easy.

I like this frittata cold and since I teach a lot in the evenings, I can put it in my lunchbox with an ice pack and eat it right before class. The boy likes his warm, so he can heat his up in the microwave at home before he eats it.  We usually get 4 servings out of it.
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Sunday, July 27, 2014

2.27 Media - The Curious Case of the Newspaper Box

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-seventh day of each month is "Media."
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Earlier this week I was listening to a podcast in which the panelists decried "the youth" for not even knowing that cut and paste was a thing you physically had to do when creating a newspaper layout in the days before word processors and computers and while I rolled my eyes at the silliness of the conversation (this is your main problem with "kids today?!), I became a tiny bit nostalgic about the days of my own youth when a newspaper was delivered to my house each day and there were piles of newspapers everywhere in our house. And then I snapped out of the nostalgia because there were piles of newspapers everywhere.

I don't actually worry about the fact that physical newspapers are not as ubiquitous as they once were, but I do worry about the carelessness with which news is now released to the public.  People die in accidents and their names are found via blogs and social media before their families are told. Speculation runs rampant that a suspected terrorist is that one guy and Twitter runs wild with rumor for hours before it becomes known that he's completely innocent.  In order to get the story to the website fast (or first!), facts aren't checked and followups are few.

The 24-hour news cycle forces news organizations to create controversy where none exists. It creates a supposed political polarization in this country pitting neighbor against neighbor when actual differences in priorities and concerns are minute. It creates a feel of helplessness in the minds of every citizen who turns on the television or radio to be bombarded with important stories of huge importance that seem so overwhelming that whatever political efficacy he or she had goes out the window as they change the channel so they can listen to the next Carrie Underwood hit and forget about the sturm and drang of the news cycle.

So as I walked by these newspaper boxes today, I said a silent eulogy to a time of carefully researched news programs and an informed populace that thought members of Congress did more than campaign for reelection and had faith it its leaders to make right and moral decisions. 
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

2.26 Support - Your Local Economy (If Your Local Economy is Minneapolis)

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-sixth day of each month is "Support."
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I've been in Minneapolis this weekend and there's nothing that makes me feel better than hanging out at Minneapolis-based businesses and giving them my money.  From local bookstores to restaurants and sports franchises (? - wait? does the money stay here or just go to the national league?), I did my best to make sure I spread my money around. 

Local businesses I love include Cliche, a boutique in Uptown that focuses on fashion-forward women's clothes, and Wild Rumpus, a bookstore located in the Linden Hills neighborhood that has three (3!!) Manx shop cats and a great selection of books for kids that makes me happy.  Both businesses have excellent service and make me a repeat customer even though I do live in another state.

More on food and where to stay later, but for now, I give you downtown in all its glory. There's nothing quite like a city skyline to make this girl's heart go pitter patter.

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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.

Friday, July 25, 2014

2.25 Courage - Parenthood

Bestest Friend and I are in the middle of a blog project. Each day of the month we will post a picture on a pre-determined theme and write a little something about it. The theme for the twenty-fifth day of each month is "Courage."
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A family riding around Lake Harriet in Minneapolis this morning.
I think that people who have kids are brave.  I also kind of think they're selfish idiots, too, but that's a whole different topic.  I can't imagine the pressure it is to be handed a miniature human and know that you are in charge of everything about them.  Beyond the concept of whether or not I am a good enough physical caretaker (I'm not entirely sure I'm responsible enough for my cat, let alone a child), I'm not entirely sure I am a good enough human being with enough moral rectitude to raise a  non-sociopath.

Parents are brave. They take on whatever special needs their child has. They take on a lack of sleep, an industry of parental judgment, and years of underappreciation and overemotionality.

We sometimes debate "the kid question" and pretty soon it's not even going to be an option.  I think there is no way to make a choice that doesn't lead to regret, so it is easiest for us to take the path of least resistance and remain childless.  But for those of you brave enough to take on the burden of parenthood with a grace and equanimity I could never have, I salute you.
Baby birds!
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To see what Bestest Friend wrote about the theme of the day, check out her blog, Too Legit to Quit.
 
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