Sunday, March 29, 2009

Chowder for a Snowy Sunday

Fortuitously, we purchased some Snook at the local fish market yesterday. We thought we might grill it. HA! Today we awoke to a blizzard, so chowder seemed more fitting. I made this Cod Chowder, with the Snook of course.
I used more potatoes, some of which I mashed up to make the broth creamier. I used half-n-half instead of whipping cream. I added two cans of chopped clams with their broth and used only two bottles of clam juice. The Snook is still cooking, but it smells delicious.
I think the keys are: bacon and saffron.
*we ate it...and it was not only the best chowder I ever made, it was the best chowder we've ever had!!*

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Wednesday, March 25, 2009


Instead of being gloomy, I will laugh.
Instead of being angry, I will join the slackers and imagine that I, too, am home in bed.
Instead of drowning my sorrows in fattening breakfast pastries, I will look at Lis's blog and pretend.
Instead of preparing for class, I will watch funny videos on Hulu.
Instead of grading, I will update my Facebook status to say "I'm not grading."
Instead of wondering what students do instead of schoolwork, I will make my own list of insteads.
Instead of saving money, I will buy expensive wraps and chips for lunch at Whole Foods.
Instead of drinking tea, I'll guzzle coffee by the gallon.
Instead of not, I'll drink wine on Tuesdays.
Instead of salad, I'll eat meat.
Instead of fruit, I'll eat chocolate.
Instead of black, I'll choose pink.
I will believe that spring is there, just out of our grasp, just around the corner, instead of trusting my senses, and the snow that continues to fall.

Saturday, March 21, 2009

Spring Break Stats

Plane trips completed: 2
Pairs of shoes taken: 3
Pairs of shoes worn: 3
Different cocktails consumed: 4 (margaritas, Lynchburg lemonade, vodka & tonic, gin & tonic)
Non-alcoholic drink of choice: Arnold Palmer
Other beverages: Black & Tan, Corona Light, other beer at The Pub
Runs: 4 (one trail run at South Mountain, one run with Jane, two runs in my neighborhood)
Favorite Phoenix activity: sitting around on various porches with various beverages
Favorite excursion: Jerome, Arizona (ate at the Asylum. Recommended)
Movies watched: 2 (Just like Heaven and Coraline)
Activities renewed: 1 (Riding cruiser around neighborhood)
Friends seen: 6 or so
Readings attended: 1
Thin Mints eaten: infinite
Favorite snack: still chips, salsa, and guac
Most active day: Friday (run and then tennis)
Most fun day in town: Thursday (run, then lunch and a movie with HighTouch)
Most fun day out of town: all of them? Hard to say...the zoo was fun, Jerome was fun, hiking was fun!!
Number of swimming workouts: 0
Number of papers graded: 0
Number of students contacted: 0
Number of weeks until the semester is over: 6
Number of weeks until I leave for London: 8
Feeling like my head is going to explode: Priceless

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Kirsten Wiig

In case you've been hiding under a rock or don't stay up late on Saturday, you might not know that Kirsten Wiig is the funniest person since....I don't even have a comparison. She's just funny.



I couldn't find any clips of the target lady, which is also funny. A little levity for Thursday.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Blogging is Dead! Long Live the Blog!

Otterbutt was sitting on my couch yesterday (I know! I love Spring Break!), and she mused that perhaps the era of the blog was over, a victim of Facebook.
So, is blogging so 2005?
Maybe. But I was looking back over old posts, and if I hadn't blogged, I wouldn't have written down things that Son said, little ideas I had. I have them here forever. Is that a good thing? I think so.
Blogging allows for longer musing on ideas, and brief glimpses into each other's lives. I always look forward to reading what my friends (and strangers too) are thinking about, doing.
Facebook is fun, good for finding long lost friends, looking at pictures of other people's adorable kids. Wasting time on quizzes and what not.
I'm not ready to let go of the blog yet.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Revisting an Old Post

At the book book group (as opposed to the wine book group) tonight, we discussed the movie "Closer" and I made some of my old complaints, which I made here, but then I really couldn't remember, specifically, what I didn't like about it, besides that I just kind of hated all the characters, and when I found the post, guess what? I couldn't remember because it's been nearly 4 years since I saw the movie!!
Is it just me, or does time have this weird fluid quality, kind of like water, kind of like taffy?
In any case, I didn't think it was so long ago. And the only way for me to remember what I really disliked about the movie is to resee it, which I just won't ever do.
So, I'll have to be content with reading my old post and going, "Hmmm..."

Sunday, March 08, 2009

Thinker, Doer, Consumer

I want to publicly agree with the commenters on my last post, that I too believe it is impossible to not be a consumer in this day and age. I mean, I can't possibly grow or make all the things I need and want.
To wit, after my frugality post and after my Wendell Berry "I don't know the names of native plants" post, what did I do? I went to Target. That's right! And we spent a lot of money. I bought a new knife, a new cutting board, a new pot, a new blanket and some really expensive shampoo that MB will not ever let me forget about. Ever. Did I "need" any of that stuff? Probably not. I did need shampoo, but did not need to spend that much on it.
I also bought snacks I didn't really need and some food that we did need.
Then I went to DSW and bought some new running shoes that I sort of needed. And they were cheaper than my last ones, so that's good, right?
What I'm saying, my adoring public, is that we have ideals, things we would like to do or be, and then we have reality, which is the way things are. Which is where Target and DSW are located, and which is where I live.
Now, that doesn't mean that I'm not going to buy a book on native plants and birds and take Son out for more hikes, because I am going to do that.
But I'm also going to buy things I don't need, but maybe try to do less of that. And try to get some winter veggies from Chad (thanks for the reminder Hightouch!) and not consume so many things that I can live without that aren't sustainable.
Holy Cow, did I mention how many plastic bags they gave us at Target? I mean to tell the nice young man (next time) that it's okay for him to put more than 2 items in each bag. I mean Geez! So that would be a step in the right direction, right?
What I mean to say is just because I don't have a cell phone or cable doesn't mean that I am not compromised in my day to day living, because I am. I guess I just want to be more conscious about what I do and what I buy, and try to balance that out with some kind of "living gently on the earth" intention.
Peace out!

Friday, March 06, 2009

Wendell Berry: A quick recap

Last night my father and I went to hear Wendell Berry read. He read part of a new essay and short story.
I don't have time to say everything I want to say about it, but he made some good points about how our economy has been based on wants, and how we need to return to a need-based economy. He included art in needs, for what that's worth.
But one thing that hit home with me was the idea that many people think they "need" technology when really they only want it.
MB and I talk quite often about how long we can hold out on the cell phone front, and whether or not we are going to convert our TV to digital. On both fronts I want to say no. I don't think more TV is what we need in our lives; no one calls us on the land line we have. Why pay more for what we don't want?
Berry also mentioned that most children don't know the place they live: they don't know the plants or the animals or the birds. So true. Son knows lots of Pokemon, but he doesn't know the names of birds. This summer I will work to change that. And myself too. I don't know the native plants or animals or birds.
I agree with Berry that much technology works to alienate us from our local communities and the places we live, even the people we live with. I think virtual communities have replaced and are replacing real communities. And I think that's a bad thing.
He spoke in favor of local farmers, farmers' markets, etc. It made me really yearn for summer, when we can get the food we need from people who live near by, rather than from a grocery chain. (I'm ignoring, for the moment, the fact that I want coffee and chocolate too, neither of which are native.)
I took his beliefs to be both a warning and a challenge: what am I bringing my Son up to be? A doer and a thinker? Or a consumer?

Sunday, March 01, 2009

New Favorite Restaurant: Meditrina

Last night, Middlebrow and I went out for a delicious dinner at a new place: Meditrina. It's a small plates or tapas restaurant. No entrees! We decided this year we were going to try new places. I read about this place in our weekly city newspaper, and since you know we love tapas, we gave it a try.
It is on the West side, which we liked. It's not terribly out of the way, but it is a cute little place in what looks like a house, but isn't. Inside it has exposed brick and funky art. Our waitress was the co-owner! She was happy she didn't have to explain about the small plates. To start we ordered: flank steak with asparagus and red mashed potatoes with leeks. Yum! We also had the patatas bravas with spicy tomato aioli (I think we agreed that the spicy tomato aioli was the best thing ever!) and chorizo and pepper stuffed crimini mushrooms. Again, yum! Then we had the world's best salad: grilled granny smith apples served on a bed of arugula with crushed walnuts, gorgonzola and balsalmic reduction. I can't wait to make this on our grill! And a grilled artichoke served with the delicious aioli and butter. We also had lamb chops served with the mashed potatoes. (You know how I love mashed potatoes!)
For dessert, we shared bread pudding with strawberry sauce and vanilla cream and a glass of port. We were satisfied, but not over full.
Eating out (especially at places like this!) might not seem to fit in with our frugal lifestyle, but we've decided to not eat out at stupid places (like chain restaurants or lower quality places) in order to save up so that we can eat at a place like this once a month.
We do, however, sometimes order Thai take out (okay, we did that Friday) or eat at a local burger place (we did that Friday too) or MB likes to go get bagels (he did that Saturday). But somehow we feel justified in eating a really nice meal once in awhile. This place was not super expensive: all the small plates were between $5 and $10. Wine and beer was reasonable. Dessert was $6 (I think).
All in all, highly recommended. Easy to get to, easy to park, no waiting, nice decor, great service, great food. I can't wait to go here with Otterbutt this summer. We could sit on the front porch!