Sunday, November 30, 2008

it's about time to dump all those old opinions

so, i must be getting old. no, my hair isn't turning gray. no, i don't all the sudden have an urge to eat dates or prunes. it's not even because i know what the world equity means (i purposely forget it each time someone explains it to me... keeps me young).

i'm old because i've decided to give up some of my stubborn opinions that i hang onto like some kind of image insurance. i'm tired of 'em. i'm tired of being bugged with certain things. or thinking that something is better than something else, just because i have some emotionally founded opinion, not based anywhere within the realms of reality.

what's the first to go? well, i thought about the country music one, but decided that might be too hard for the first one. the first one i ran into last night was all the christmas craziness. instead of being disgusted at all the extravagances, all the overdone shininess, all the materialism; i decided i'm open to enjoying the beauty of it all. the lights are pretty, even if people put them up after halloween. the shininess does create an intense season of holiday-ness.

anyway, if you're also feeling old, perhaps let go of some of those hard-held opinions that really just don't matter. maybe there is more out there that is good than we first think.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

easier to communicate, harder to connect

this week i've reflected on the newer methods of communication that we rely on: email, text messaging, blogs, podcasts, websites.

email has made it possible for people at distances to quickly keep up with each other, conduct business, send documents and pictures. it's also nice because it can create a paper trail if needed.

text messaging can be a non-intrusive way to send a quick message to someone, with out the immediacy of a phone call. it's also kinda fun.

blogs, well, are a good way for everyone to have the chance to be a journalist, advertise their latest news, or spread information.

podcasts are just cool, it's like radio, but when you want it.

websites have it all and seems to do it all.

BUT! as much as i love and use all of these methods of communication, i am consistently confronted with the fact that they come up short in one area. connection. the human connection. yes, i know, you are saying, but these things make it easier to connect. but in the same breath, these methods of communication and connect also prevent us from face to face (and sometimes even voice to voice) connection. and there is something to be said about people and really being with them. misunderstandings occur. jokes not gotten. emotions misread. facial expressions lost. social skills disappearing.

i love to communicate. but, i think i need to remember that somedays i just need to pick up the phone and call. or spend an evening with some of my favorite people. because the internet is not substitute for real people.

Monday, November 10, 2008

A favorite and a not-so-favorite

So, I've taken to cooking more lately. This is mostly motivated by budgeting, but also motivated by the need for some creativity. So, I thought I'd include 2 recipes, one that we all really liked, and one that everyone else seemed to like, but I didn't.

Here's the not-so-favorite first.

Pumpkin or (Winter Squash) Soup

3 tablespoons butter or neutral oil, like grapeseed or corn
3 pounds sugar pumpkin, or any winter squash (1 medium squash), like acorn, butternut, calabaza, Hubbard, kabocha, or turban, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-to-2-inch cubes
1 medium onion, roughly chopped
1 tablespoon chopped fresh sage or 1 teaspoon chopped fresh rosemary
Salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
5 cups any vegetable stock or water
1 cup cream or half-and-half

  1. Put the butter or oil in a deep skillet or medium saucepan over medium-high heat. When the butter is melted or the oil is hot, add the pumpkin and onion and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion softens, about 5 minutes. Add the herb, sprinkle with salt and pepper, and continue cooking until fragrant, another minute or so. Add the stock and bring to a boil, then lower the heat so the soup bubbles gently. Partially cover and cook, stirring occasionally, until the pumpkin starts to fall apart, about 30 minutes.
  2. Use an immersion blender to puree the soup in the pan. Or cool the mixture slightly (hot soup is dangerous), pass it though a food mill or pour it into a blender container, and puree carefully. (The soup may be made ahead to this point, cooled, and refrigerated for up to 2 days. Serve cold or reheat it gently).
  3. Heat the pureed soup until almost boiling. Stir in the cream and heat through, but do not boil. Taste, adjust the seasoning, and serve garnished with an extra grinding of black pepper if you like.
In the middle of it, I realized we didn't have any half and half, so I used lots more butter. Maybe that is what it was missing, but it seemed like it needed something else.

Beans & Greens Risotto

1 quart vegetable broth
1 15 oz. can of diced tomatoes
4 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
1 tablespoon olive oil
1 1/2 cups arborio rice
1 15 oz. can of small red beans or pinto beans, drained
1 small head escarole, chopped (about 3 cups)
1/4 cup grated Pecorino Romano or Parmesan cheese
salt and pepper
lemon wedges (optional)

In a saucepan, bring the broth and tomatoes to a boil and the reduce the heat to maintain a gentle simmer.

Meanwhile, in a large, heavy saucepan on medium-high heat, cook the garlic in the oil until just golden, a few seconds. Add the rice and stir until the grains are well coated with oil. Ladle in the hot broth and tomatoes a cup at a time, stirring often. After each addition, let the rice absorb most of the broth before adding more. Add the beans with the last cup of broth.

When most of the broth is absorbed and the rice is tender but still al dente, stir in the escarole, in batches if necessary, until it wilts but is still bright green. Stir in the cheese and season with salt and pepper. Serve hot, with wedges of lemon if you wish.

Sunday, November 2, 2008


Here's the rules for this tag:
1: Each player starts with 8 random habits/facts about themselves.
2: People who are tagged need to write a post on their blog about their eight things and post these rules.
3: At the end of the post you need to choose 8 people to get tagged and list their names.

Ok, Michelle, my cousin, tagged me. Normally, I don't do this sort of thing, but I'm fried this week, so this is an easy post.

1. I am 60 inches tall. This translates to 4 feet, 12 inches, or just a nice, round 5 feet. I don't know how long I've been this tall, nor how long it will last, but for now....

2. I have lived on 2 different continents and 2 island nations. And, I would love to live in more places.

3. I have 5 different pairs of Chaco sandals. The newest ones got chewed on by Keene, but I'm still wearing them. I don't love them as much as I used to, but I still wear them 90% of the time (down to 70% in the winter).

4. I learned how to make bread, today! I just ate a piece of toast with butter and jelly on it. Mmmm. I have to say, I acquired the taste for it from my Aunt Judy; she always had homemade bread.

5. I read about 20-30 different blogs every couple of days. I'm learning a lot about many different things, but mostly about photography and business.

6. I'm trying to climb about 3 times a week now. I've been climbing for about 6 years now. I'd like to say I'm really good because of it, but alas, I'm not. But, it is my therapy, so I keep at it.

7. I'm a night person, not a morning person. One of my favorite things is to wake up, then curl back up and sleep for another hour or so.

8. I obsessively check the free section of Craigslist Salt Lake and Provo everyday, and freecycle every few days and KSL every week or so.

I'm going to break the "rules" and not pass this one on. I'm just not like that. But, thanks, Michelle for tagging me. This was actually kind fun to write.