Friday, September 19, 2014

Count Killo-Watt is on the Loose

Upgrade Athens is focused on reducing Athens County energy consumption while competing to win the Georgetown University Energy Prize. Participating with the Public Relations Committee, it was mentioned that a cartoon character would make a great story teller for capturing children's interest, Count Killo-Watt was born.

Count Killo-Watt wants to suck energy! Where does he lurk? In the clothes dryer? The dish washer? How do you combat him? Superheroes alert! We need Sergeant Weather Stripper! Calling Madam Eco to the rescue!

Somebody help me here.

Spreading the word-- Athens City Sustainability Commission Meeting has a public meeting scheduled on Wednesday Oct. 15 at 6 PM at the Athens Community Center. This is a brainstorming session to hear from the community about what goals, objectives, and strategies we should build into a sustainability plan for the City of Athens. We hope you can make the meeting and please spread the word. There will be light refreshments and lots of good folks like you there!

Saturday, September 6, 2014

Therapy & Art

 studied this and that in college until an advisor said, "You can get a degree in International Relations if you take these classes." It was easier than staying in school forever and hoping that it would come to me when nothing was clicking. I needed to wrap of the expense of college so completing my degree was prudent. I went on to think more about what I wanted to do for a living and became a nurse. In the end, I have to do stuff to figure out if I like doing it.

I can suck at but like the challenge such as with writing or parenting. I can be good to great at it and dislike doing it like with making dinner every night or managing the demands of the home front. Somethings I haven't done and have no interest in trying-- street drugs and horror films come to mind. After years of education, work, and life, and I still keep at the idea of refining what it is that I like doing which is how I've recently found myself enrolled in a screenwriting class.

I started sweating bullets when several classmates mentioned being in therapy along with their artistic visions. For me, therapy is a place to discover, but not linger. Lingering in places of turmoil is where I see so much waste in terms of human capital and energy. Therapy and art can both aim to bring the unconscious to the conscious, but a work of art has to come from a place of perspective, and it stands out when polished and chiseled.

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Staying in the Moment

Chaos has fueled the desire for a life so full of routine that boredom ensues. I've always thought it would help to stay in the same place for a very long time, and, though I suspect that someday I'll experience death by routine, it's yet to hit my radar. 

My quest for a life of routine is partly about channeling the fluctuations of emotion and energy that make up daily life. On that front, I aim for a  daily walk along the riverRecouping from a recent injury, grateful for mobility, I ambled off listening to conversation from On Being about noticing the moment-- an exercise to look for five new things about a person you talk to everyday caught my interest. Since there was no office to duck into after the show, I tried to notice new things around me-- the leaves starting to turn though it's August,  a few of those fluorescent yellow and black birds still fluttering about town, and that some people smile on the bike path, but they usually aren't wearing a headset.  One guy saw me trying to read his shirt. I knew he had put it on mindlessly when he pulled it out in front of himself to read it. His shirt had a Chinese character on it, and I don't think either of us knew the kanji's meaning. 

The discipline of noticing is an effective tool for getting into the moment, but it's hard to stay there. 

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Reviewing Movies

An injury that caused writhing spasms in my piriformis muscle forced me to spend a few days near the couch. I timidly embraced the return of mobility and suggested a movie to my solo child couped up with me. Plus the weather peaked into the muggy-sphere of awful which is how I found myself at the movie theater on a recent afternoon to see Guardians of the Galaxy (2014)

My kid, now nine, told me that the story is from the archives of Marvel Comics. I mentioned that the film for me was a mash up of Star Wars (1977) and The Fifth Element (1997) except that the conceptual design felt scattered compared to the stunning sharp visual style of the older films. The child reminded me that the costumes from The Fifth Element were done by the French fashion designer Jean-Paul Gaultier and that Lucas got all his best ideas from Japan and in particular samurais. (Apparently my son does listen to me sometimes.) 

He then wondered if The Fifth Element had been based on a cartoon, "because it has that look you know." Turns out two French comic creators, Jean Giraud and Jean-Claude Mézières, provided inspiration, drawings, and were hired as production designers for the film. My child notices stuff that I do not.

The work of Jean-Claude Mézières, Valérian and Laureline, also served as inspiration to Star Wars--  the alien bar scene in particular per my Google research.

When a random day's events conspires to get one off the couch, you never know what you'll notice plus I'm thinking that I need to get some old comic books!

Sunday, August 10, 2014

Drinking Coffee with Munsters

It's the last day of our trip, 6:30 am. I'm in a coffee shop with two kids so Dada can sleep. They're wearing their pajamas and discovering the thrill of beverages without the need to turn on the stove or a pot.

Uninterrupted thoughts are rare in the life of a parent. I'm thinking Dada needs to wake up soon.

Friday, July 25, 2014

Carbonara in 15 Minutes

If you eat swine, I recommend this recipe for carbaonara for two reasons-- it's great for a quick dinner and easy. 

In a big pot with a lid, over high heat bring to boil water with a fat pinch of salt. 

There are certain dishes that I love to eat when they are made with lots of bacon-- carbonara, pizza for adults, and fried rice. However, an early trek to the farmers market is necessary to get the local stuff so when I do manage to buy bacon, I stash it in my freezer. 

Pull out a frozen block of bacon, hack it to bits, and brown it. You'll notice that keeping bacon in the freezer is great for chopping it.

I buy local food, but for some items are some that have no substitute-- Dececco pasta, avocados, and pomegranates. Put the pasta into boiling water and set the timer. If you use Dececco, it's always al dente when it says it will be, ten minutes for spaghetti. Add frozen peas when six minutes have passed.

Crack two eggs and place the yolks in bowl to use. Pour out the cream.

Drain the pasta, keeping some of the pasta water. Return the pasta to the still hot pan. Using a pasta scoop or two forks, mix the pasta until it is coated with the egg yolks, adding cream slowly. Season with salt and pepper. Add Parmesan cheese and toss again. Add more cream to obtain desired consistency. Serve the pasta and garnish with the cripsy bacon bits.

You might find you have an emergency worthy of this dish, regularly.

Carbonara in 15 minutes

Box of Spaghetti (Dececo), cooked al dente 10 minutes
Bacon, sliced (I prefer the whole package but if you've more self control half is tolerable)
Frozen Peas, 1/2 cup (optional)
Egg Yolks, 2
Cream, 1 cup
Parmesean Cheese, 1/2 cup
Kosher Salt, to taste
Fresh Ground Black Pepper, 1-2 cranks

Cover and bring a large pot of water to boil over high heat. Add pasta and cook until al dente ( has a bite when bitten), about 10 minutes.

Chop bacon. In a sauté pan, brown bacon over medium low heat. Remove from heat and drain onto a paper towel. Set aside. 

Add peas to pasta when pasta has about 4 minutes to go.

When pasta is al dente, drain pasta but not too thoroughly, save a bit of the water. Return pasta to the still warm pot. Add the egg yolks and with a pasta scoop or two forks, toss until the pasta is coated. Slowly, add cream until desired consistency is reached. 

Add the cheese and continue to toss. 

Season with salt and pepper. Adjust to taste.

Serve pasta topped with crispy bacon bits.

Fresh off the Cob Corn Salsa

If you live in or near Ohio in the summer, fresh corn is on the menu. Over the years it has been consumed at our table, mostly, on the cob. However, my children don't eat corn like I did so there is often leftover. I'm more a fan of reusing leftovers in another dish than reheating, but whether you cut it off the cob or use frozen or canned corn kernels, this is a great way to serve corn. I used cherry tomatoes fresh from my garden in this batch.

Corn Salsa combines black beans and fresh tomatoes to make a tasty topping to Taco Rice Salad or corn chips. For me, it's really about the cumin and lime-- I'll eat most anything with that combination. Try it!

Fresh off the Cob Corn Salsa

Corn-- Fresh, frozen, or Canned, cooked and cooled, 1 1/2 cups
Cooked Black Beans, cooled and rinsed, 1 1/2 cups
Fresh Tomato, diced,  2 large
Sweet Onion, diced, 1 small
Fresh Cilantro, chopped, 3 Tbsp
Fresh Lime Juice, 3 Tbsp (1-2 Limes)
Ground Cumin, 1/2 tsp
Salt, 1 tsp

Prep vegetables. Toss all ingredients together in a bowl. Adjust seasoning to taste. Serve with taco rice salad or eat with Shagbark Corn Chips.