Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Yoghurt, Granola, and Peaches Everyday

1) When I got to work yesterday morning, I found that my shelf in the refrigerator had been labeled:
 I enjoy puns made with my nickname. There are so many possibilities! My sisters look like Hel, my parents raised Hel, I drive like Hel on wheels.
My friend Max begins nearly every e-mail with a pun. They have included: Helven Warrior, Helmann's Mayonnaise, Helevated Blood Pressure, Helvis Presley,  Tickle Me Helmo and Village Helder.
The same friend also made me this picture in 2008 (it's Hel in a hand basket):

3. the Bios Urn, this is what I want when I die.

4. These are some lovely people that I have been friends with since I was ten. It's amazing to have people in my life who knew me throughout the obnoxious preteen and teen phases and still want to be my friend (but then again, I knew them through their preteen and teen phases and love them even more for it).

Monday, August 29, 2011

Why are there so many songs about rainbows?

I just completed what should have been a 3.5-4 hour drive in 10-10.5 hours. Our friend Irene flooded the Mohawk Valley in such a way that many of the westward roads were impassible. The detour for the NYS Thruway became a parking lot. I went fewer than ten miles in two hours, at which point I decided to forge my own path, ignoring the incessant "recalculating" that the GPS kept scolding me with.

As I endured this adventure, I tried to keep myself positive by thinking of things that I liked about the trip that I would write about on this here blog.

1) I talked to way more strangers than I ever do on car trips. At rest stops and gas stations, everyone was empathizing with each others' pathetic quest for a westward route. Some advice was given, but mostly there were a lot of gripe sessions that ended with "good luck." One woman chased me down to offer me a map (I already had one, but it was the thought that counted).

2) At a Subway, I talked to a mother and father who were driving to Utah. With two kids around the 7-11 age range. And I was so glad I wasn't them.

3) I got to see parts of NY that I've never seen before. And really, if you're going to take an involuntary four hour detour, there are worse places to do it than the Adirondacks.

4) While the GPS was plugged in, I couldn't listen to my ipod, so I dug some old cds out of the glove compartment. A "Sing-a-Long" mix by my friend Meghan was particularly enjoyable. It included surprises such as the Backstreet Boys, Madonna, and Kermit the Frog.

5) I arrived at my destination, my new home in Ithaca, at sunset. I'm completely moved, although not at all unpacked. But the most excited thing is that my backyard is a waterfall. Pictures forthcoming.

Friday, August 26, 2011

Is it okay for baby outfits not to match?

1. Picking out outfits for Baby.


3. Please take the time to read this amazing piece in GQ about the experience of being gay in the US Military. Please please.

4. Here are some songs that I've been excited about recently:
- Like Water by Ladi6
- I Don't Want Love by the Antlers
- Green Lights by Aloe Blacc
- Worried About - Lissie

5. I'm going to Powell House again this weekend! It's the 50th Anniversary of Powell House, a Quaker retreat center near Albany, NY. I started going to youth retreats there when I was nine, and it's one of my favorite places in the world.
6. Did you know that you can get an e-mail letting you know when I update my blog? Enter your e-mail address into the box on the upper right hand side of this page, and you can subscribe. It's something blogger does, so I don't see that you've subscribed or anything. You can remain anonymous, Russian readers, although I do wish I knew who you were.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Picture Day!

This has been a video heavy week here at Things I Like. I do like videos, but there are so many other likable things in the world! Today, for the sake of diversity (and those dear readers who cannot stream videos because they live in 1999/Harlan County Kentucky), we have a video-free blog post.

1. There is now an Earlham College Meme! I love it! I'm not ecstatic that John Jacobson was chosen as the main person to represent my alma mater, but I'll survive (if you read this, JJ, don't act like you're surprised). Here are some of the ones that ring true to my Earlham experience:

2. I am moving. I haven't mentioned that yet on this blog because moving is one of the things that I hate most in the world (there are some good things about this move: I'm moving from a house that I don't really like living in to a house where the odds are good that I'll like it, and some lovely people are helping me move). What I do want to say about the house that I've been living in for the past year is this: it has spectacular wallpaper. Let me share with you the best bits:
the inside of my closet is wallpapered with the Fox and the Hound

imagine an entire room covered in mushrooms
strawberry wallpaper peeling away to reveal a creepy doll paper, and also trains
this is my favorite part of the whole house, the fruit paper peeling and showing the turquoise wall
 3. Living in the kind of city where seeing a Quaker poster stuck in a traffic median ain't no big deal.

4. Mike's Bikes in California no longer uses pennies, which I think is a great idea.

"Payson's Leap" Seagrove, Florida 1974
Photograph by Susie Fitzhugh

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Say Something Nice

1. My first earthquake! I was sitting at the computer when the house I work in started to shake. I knew that the neighbors, in an adjoining apartment, were doing some painting and hammering, so that's what I thought of. Of course I didn't think "earth quake." I thought "Wow, this house must not have a very good foundation if people moving furniture next door makes everything shake. Then I happened glance at facebook and saw everyone talking about an earthquake. Baby slept through everything.

I think that this video of Strauss-Kahn's lawyer's news conference getting interrupted by the earth quake is pretty hilarious. My favorite bit is how the lawyers all grab each other and split, leaving everyone else behind.

more about this project here

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Video Day!

1. The other night, I really wanted to watch a bad romantic comedy. So I browsed Netflix Watch Instantly's collection, and decided to watch When in Rome. And oh my goodness, it was so bad! Either it was trying to be campy, and failed, or it was just bad. Either way, it's main redemptive quality was the fact that I think it knew it was bad. And the closing credits (if the whole movie had been the way the closing credits are, it might have worked):

2. So I was watching the videos on Huffington Post's Top Ten Cutest Sloth Moments Caught On Film, and I saw this video:
It's not all that cute, really. But then when the video ended, one of the next videos advertised was "Sloth Crosses Road, I Believe I Can Fly Remix." I watched it, and I laughed so so so hard.

3. A solo dance demonstrating the experience of sharing vocal ministry in a Quaker meeting for worship. More about the dance here.


'Movie Line Rhymes' by Jordan Laws from ScreenWerks on Vimeo.

Monday, August 22, 2011

We've Never Met, and That's Okay

1. Readers, I'm sorry that I didn't post about this book months ago when I first heard about it. I guess it slipped my mind. But that means that now we can have a video montage! (warning: there is repeated swearing in these videos).

2. Egg salad. I'm sorry, vegan readers, but I've recently gotten really into egg salad. It should be noted that one can also make tofu salad with very satisfying results. Anyway, I like egg salad because it's easy to make, easy to experiment with new ingredients, and delivers protein.
Here's my favorite way to do egg salad: hard boiled eggs, a little bit of mayo, some Frank's Red Hot, chopped up pickles, and dill. I also like to have a crunch, and use that as an opportunity to add in fresh veggies. Some people like celery, but I am of the opinion that it just takes up space without adding any flavor. I add whatever I have on hand, but favorites include chopped carrots, radish and/or red bell pepper.  Sometimes I add salt, but usually it's unnecessary. I sometimes eat egg salad on a sandwich, but I often eat it in a lettuce leaf.

3. Get ready for Stanger's Day!

4. Madison Young, an adult film star, recently made an art exhibit based on the ideas of motherhood and sexuality. She's gotten a lot of crap for it. I think that the art show itself is interesting, and that the controversy around it is even more interesting. Here's an opinion piece in Salon about it (another warning: the article acknowledges the existence of sex, porn, and boobs).

Thursday, August 18, 2011

one badass mother

How do you guys feel about the term "bromance?" Does it enable straight males in our society to show affection and commitment to another man without fear of being called gay, or does its existence as a term belittle male friendships that have always existed, and only now need a special word? Is it sexist? Heterosexist? Stupid?
I have mixed feelings. I am always happy to see guys who feel comfortable talking about or displaying their affection for their male friends, but I'm not sure about having a cute word for it. It doesn't offend me, it just makes me think.
But no matter what, the above cartoon made me smile.

2. This evening I saw two ducks flying faster than I ever knew ducks could fly, like they were afraid they'd be late for the sunset.

3.  An archive of Bart Simpson's chalkboard writings.

4. Puppy tasting a lime! Do yourself a favor and mute the sound, because the music is stupid and unnecessary, but the dog's eventual reaction is adorable and probably essential to your existence.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

some final innocence to save from dust

What I Expected
- Stephen Spender

What I expected was

Thunder, fighting,

Long struggles with men

And climbing.

After continual straining

I should grow strong:

Then the rocks would shake

And I should rest long.

What I had not foreseen

Was the gradual day

Weakening the will

Leaking the brightness away,

The lack of good to touch

The fading of body and soul

Like smoke before wind

Corrupt, unsubstantial.

The wearing of Time,

And the watching of cripples pass

With limbs shaped like questions

In their odd twist.

The pulverous grief

Melting the bones with pity.

The sick falling from earth

These, I could not foresee.

For I had expected always

Some brightness to hold in trust,

Some final innocence

To save from dust;

That, hanging solid,

Would dangle through all

Like the created poem

Or the dazzling crystal.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

we are entering a wild age

Friends, I know that summer has been a rough time for this blog, with such infrequent posts. Thanks for sticking around.

1) Today at a gas station I found some pretty snazzy orange sunglasses, and when I went to check out the guy even volunteered to cut off the tags for me so that I could wear them immediately.

2) Stop Coddling the Super Rich, a perspective from a super rich person.

3) I spent the past week with my sisters, who are wonderful.

4) This happened today, and it was great.

5. I'm very into this song right now. My favorite line is "An inconvenient thing arose in my heart, the day you went and stuck your nose in my heart." Don't think of it literally though, cuz that would be weird/gross...

Monday, August 8, 2011

The recipe said serves 8, but that is a lie. Eat it all yourself.

1) My final conversation with the Census Lady who calls every four months to ask about my spending habits:
Census Lady: In the past 12 months, have you received any Federal Tax Returns?
Me: Yes.
Census Lady: How much?
Me: Five dollars.
Census Lady: You're kidding.
Me: Nope.

2) A peacock escaped from the Central Park Zoo, and a photographer took pictures of people's reactions as they watched the peacock perched on the windowsill of an apartment building.

3) At our retreat this past weekend we took the kids raspberry picking, and ended up with a whole lot of berries. Raspberries are my favorite berry, and in under 24 hours 13 people consumed seven of the eight quarts that we'd picked. Last night I was resolved to make a raspberry pie with the remaining quart. It always happens that when I look at pie crust recipes (vegan or nonvegan, they both intimidate me), my resolve turns to resignation to making cobbler. Then that resignation turns to joy because cobbler is delicious and easy to make! I used a recipe I found online, making adjustments to make it vegan. I also added about a cup of blackberries and two small peaches that we happened to have. I added less sugar than called for, and still it turned out super sweet - next time I'll use half as much. Here's the recipe, with a significant reduction in added sugar:
4 cups Fresh Raspberries
1/4 cup Margarine or Butter at room temperature
3/4 cup Sugar
1/2 cup Milk or Soy Milk
1 cup Flour
2 teaspoons Baking powder
1/2 teaspoon Salt
1 teaspoon Vanilla extract
1/2 cup Water
Preheat oven to 350F.
Line an 8 inch or 9 inch square baking dish with raspberries.
Make batter by mixing margarine, 1/2 cup sugar, milk,flour, baking powder, salt, and vanilla.
Pour batter over fruit and spread evenly.
Mix remaining sugar and water.
Pour over batter.
Bake for 1 hour.

4) Art art tiny leaf art

Friday, August 5, 2011

That'll do

1. Conversations with my father on the phone rarely necessitate my input and often go something like this (fyi, 'Willie" is an obese cat, and "Wandering Jew" is legitimately a plant name)...
Dad: What is that plant that Willie's eating? Is Wandering Jew a risk for cats? I don't know. I'm going to let him eat it.
(thinks for a second)
Where's Karen? Upstairs. I'll ask her when she comes back, and she'll probably tell me that it's poisonous... (another thoughtful pause)
Willie, stop eating that! (pause as he walks over to Willie) He's not really eating it, he's faking. That'll do, cat.

 2. Some amusing gay rights/marriage equality signs.
 My favorite:

3. I've been going through a long process of unfriending on Facebook. I reached 950 and decided there was no reason for that many people to know my business. It's been difficult, I've found myself over-thinking it a lot. My goal is 500, but right now I'm stuck at 680. My dear friend Isa has been very supportive throughout this ordeal, offering lots of advice, pep talks, and words of wisdom. One of her gems:
Me: Oh, it's ______ ______'s birthday though, I can't unfriend her on her birthday!
Isa: Actually, I find people's birthdays is a great time to unfriend. If I see that it's their birthday and I don't even care enough to tell them "happy birthday" on their wall, it probably means we don't need to be facebook friends.

This is really solid advice, and I am going to use it.

4. Last week I made this vegan coconut cake, and it was pretty good. I didn't have shredded coconut or coconut oil, so the coconut flavor was very subtle, but it was still tasty. I only had one cake pan, so I decided to put it all in one (the recipe called for two, later stacked with icing), which was a mistake. It took a long time to bake in the middle, and by the time it had the outside was a bit more baked than I'd have liked.  Follow directions, readers. They're there for a reason.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Pickles of any kind.

1. Player pianos! The karaoke of the past. Yesterday I got to pretend to be able to play the Phantom of the Opera on the piano (in real life I can't even play Chopsticks). It was very exciting.

2. Amazing (but some disturbing) photographs from Afghanistan on the Atlantic site.
3. Home made bread and butter pickles.



Change - Kathleen Jessie Raine

Said the sun to the moon,
You cannot stay.

Says the moon to the waters,
All is flowing.

Says the fields to the grass,
Seed-time and harvest,
Chaff and grain.

You must change said,
Said the worm to the bud,
Though not to a rose,

Petals fade
That wings may rise
Borne on the wind.

You are changing
said death to the maiden, your wan face
To memory, to beauty.

Are you ready to change?
Says the thought to the heart, to let her pass
All your life long

For the unknown, the unborn
In the alchemy
Of the world's dream?

You will change,
says the stars to the sun,
Says the night to the stars.