A short list

A short list of things that we haven’t really eaten this summer that otherwise frequently appeared in our diets:

  1. mushrooms (they are available at the market – just v. expensive)
  2. bananas
  3. any beans other than green ones
  4. avocados
  5. hummus
  6. pre-made veggie products (total: 1 box mini corn dogs, 1 box veggie nuggets)
  7. citrus (other than lemon juice, primarily for preservation acidity)
  8. cold cuts or “lunch meat”
  9. frozen vegetables (though we have a frozen meal every few weeks)
  10. shrimp

I was thinking about all of this last night while watching another episode of Jamie at Home and thinking about how I didn’t really miss any of these things.  OK, I do splurge on the occasional banana, and I do miss guacamole – but for the most part, this has been a really painless and amazingly tasty few months!

Things I Took Pictures Of While In Denver

Things I took pictures of while in Denver:

CouchSurfer Max’s ceiling (while he slept)
Couchsurfing
A beautiful airport

A not-so-beautiful airport
Atlanta
Ballpark food
Baseball dinner
Strange buffalo
Surprise Buffalo
Trains (from a train)
Union Pacific

Things I did not take pictures of while in Denver:

  • Linda
  • CouchSurfer Max or seatmate friend Taylor (Tyler? the world will never know.)
  • My walk to/from the light-rail
  • the giant demon horse or the big blue bear
  • myself with any of the above
  • the mall where Linda and I hung out
  • any of my myriad fast food meals (oh my aching tummy) at the airport
  • mountains (well, ok, not enough photos)

I enjoyed my very brief visit to Colorado, and definitely would like to go back again.  Denver struck me as a strangely large, but rather nice city – one I would like to know better, though I suspect that were we to live there, we’d need to live downtown to have the lifestyle we’d like.  Somehow that seems to be a theme with us.  SB has described Colorado as basically his dream state – and this sight unseen – so I imagine we’ll be there more in the future, especially with Linda, Jeremiah, and their menagerie beckoning!

In the Neighborhood

Apparently for the second time in as many weeks, someone emptied port-a-potties in the stream that runs behind our building.  The dumping didn’t take place directly behind our building – it was upstream (downstream?  I don’t even know) at Westover Park – but still, it’s good to know that our neighbors care for the health and wellness of Arlington and the greater Potomac River and Chesapeake Bay watershed.  Unfortunately it doesn’t explain why Four Mile Run regularly smells like rank ass.  Things to ponder, folks.

Etsy love

Day 364 - 7/21/08

Why do I love Etsy?  A whole lot of cuteness for not much money at all.  My friend Tina and I both bought these charms – not matching ones, though – the other week, and I love them!  The absolutely only downside is that I managed to get one wet, so the kitties aren’t as cute anymore – but I’ve learned my lesson, and will take better care.

Thanks, Etsy

Get your own at homestudio.etsy.com!

Only Connect

(I had set a goal for myself to blog somewhere every day this month, but that goal was impossibilified by yesterday’s travel suckiness.  In lieu of yesterday’s post, an overly thoughtful one too too early in the morning.)

So it’s 7am and I’m in Atlanta, having spent the night in the airport after my flight out of Denver was delayed by a couple of hours.  Crying was involved, as was encouragement from several random strangers.  The random strangers are the subject of this post.

I really don’t like talking to people on planes.  It’s not so much that I’m antisocial as it is that I just want to zone out, read my book, sleep, etc.  That said, I talked to my seatmate for the entirety of the 2 1/2 hour flight from Denver to Atlanta, our conversation running the gamut from Aspergers to wilderness therapy to climate change as a concept to metadata.  At the conclusion, we exchanged warm farewells, aware that this was a chance connection, forged only because we were stuck in the airport and then in the plane next to each other for several unplanned hours.

When Erin Fae visited a few weeks ago, we talked about how we both really feel the lack of intimate friendships in our lives at the moment.  We both certainly have those sorts of friends – the ones that hang out in the kitchen while you’re making dinner, or call you at the last minute to go to the grocery store, or are comfortable being quiet together – but not as many as we’d like, and not necessarily in our same geographic regions, making the spontanaeity and comfort of the relationships a little more difficult.  We also talked about how it’s so much harder to make those kinds of friends as adults – and harder to make friends in general.

I guess that’s why I so value conversations like the one I had last night – or like Sunday night, when Max and I went to a bar near his apartment and just talked about whatever for an hour or two.  It’s so rare these days to have a real conversation with anyone, much less a total stranger, much less a conversation spanning multiple hours – so when they happen, it seems like a wonderful gift.

I guess the point of this – and bear with me, as I’ve had like 3 hours’ sleep in a cold and uncomfortable terminal – is that I’m thankful for opportunities to connect, to share a little part of my life with someone new, to step outside my comfort zone and be enriched by the experience.  I’m especially thankful when, as with Erin Fae, as with Linda, those moments turn into a wonderful friendship.

Things I did today

Denver edition:

  • woke at 5am, tossed and turned, took pictures of my CouchSurfer Max’s ceiling
  • was showered, dressed, and on my way to the light rail by 6:30am (the time for which I’d set my alarm)
  • light-rail to the ‘burbs, breakfast w/random GSLIS grads
  • opening plenary, 1st session, nerves setting in
  • lunch w/David
  • first conference presentation ever! entitled: “Okay, This is Just Too Weird: Identifying Outreach Opportunities in Facebook” and coming soon to an institutional repository near you
  • climbed on a rock to take pictures of the mountains
  • 3rd session (not as interesting as advertised)
  • light-rail back to downtown, drop off stuff at Max’s, walk back to the 16th St Mall and then to Coors Field
  • bleacher “rock pile” seats for $4 to watch the Rockies vs. Nats.  Add 1 Blue Moon ($6.50) and 1 chicken sandwich and you get 1 happy E.
  • leave after the 6th inning out of sleepiness, walk back to Max’s with a stop for airplane snacks.
  • Fin.

Dingers!

Dingers!

We saw the NATS WIN last night against the Reds!  After a pretty lousy first couple of innings, Belliard set the stadium on fire with a DINGER for his sole appearance in the game.  It was all good from there – the Nats came back from trailing by 4 to win 10-6.  It seems like the mid-season roster changes are paying off!  This was our fifth Nats game of the season – and hopefully not the last.

Eating and Growing Locally: Week 14

Eating:
In a bout of “what the hell do we have in the fridge?”, we made our all-local meal:

Local dinner

Pork kefte, broiled Mediterranean veg, and homemade tzatziki sauce, all of which were delicious and have been subsequently snacked on.

Homemade Tzatziki

Tzatziki (from Serving Up the Harvest)

3 C quartered and thinly sliced cucumbers
1/2 t salt, or more as needed
1 C greek yogurt or sour cream
1 garlic clove, minced

Combine the cucumbers and salt in a colander and toss to mix.  Let drain for 30-60 minutes.  Transfer to a clean kitchen towel and pat dry.  Combine the cucumbers, yogurt, and garlic in a large bowl.  Season generously with salt and pepper.  Set aside at room temperature to allow the flavors to develop for at least 30 minutes before serving.

This is the halved version of the recipe – the amount that we made – and it still made a LOT of tzatziki.  We’ll probably halve it again next time.

Broiled zucchini and tomatoes

Broiled Zucchini with Herbs (adapted from Moosewood Restaurant Low-Fat Favorites)

2 t olive oil
2 garlic cloves, minced or pressed
juice of 1/2 lemon (a couple of tablespoons)
a handful of finely chopped basil (or mint) and chives (or scallions) – as much as you’d like or have on hand
salt and pepper
1 medium-sized zucchini, sliced into rounds
1 tomato, sliced

Preheat the broiler.  In a large bowl, whisk together the oil, garlic, lemon juice, herbs, salt and pepper.  Toss the zucchini and tomatoes with this mixture until evenly coated.  Place the vegetables on a lined baking sheet and broil for 8-10 minutes, until the zucchini is just tender.  Serve immediately.

We ate lots of other delicious things this week – penne with zucchini and ricotta, homemade pizza with random leftovers from the market, and grilled chicken with a zucchini salad –  we just don’t have pictures.  Nom nom nom.

Growing:
As we move into the dog days of summer – and our last month with a balcony – our garden seems to be winding down. The lettuce looks weird – some of it is definitely lettuce-y, but some appears to have tall stalks and flowers. Maybe I don’t know how to grow lettuce? A couple of tomatoes and chilis are ripening on the vine, and our basil trucks on into its fourth month. Over the next few weeks we’re going to be finishing things off – picking the lettuce, transplanting the herbs, letting things go to seed and die – but for now I’m just enjoying the changing colors from my vantage point by the window.

By the numbers: July 2008

July numbers:

Three month comparison:

At the start of this whole thing, I suspected that while we may find ourselves spending more on produce than we normally do – our diets on the whole would improve without a substantial overall increase in food spending. After three months, the numbers support this conclusion. We’re spending about the same amounts as we were before starting to shop at the market – but we’re getting gorgeous fresh things, meat and cheeses straight from the producers, wonderful baked goods made from local ingredients instead of overly processed snacks or produce with a ridiculous amount of packaging that can’t be reused. Our milk, chicken, and the odd packaged meal (for those nights when cooking is just not going to happen) still come from the store, as do staples like olive oil, kitty litter, and sandwich bags – but on the whole I think we’re doing quite well!